By Via Reyes
I was invited to see the Confederation Centre’s holiday production, Aladdin: Another Fairly Tall Tale, this past Friday and I could not have asked for a better way to spend a study break from finals. Following last year’s holiday production of Cinderella, this classic tale is given a special Island twist. Written and directed by the Confedertion Centre’s artistic director Adam Brazier, this production features a talented local cast and crew and soundtrack with lovable and familiar pop tunes.
With all the stress that the holiday season brings, I think this production is such a perfect break from it all because it is just such a fun time. The show welcomed audience interaction which I absolutely loved. There was even one time that when the audience did not “boo” loud enough, the villainous Jafar egged us on even more. There were new characters created just for this adaptation, like the lovable and just a little raunchy Widow Twanky who fired off joke after joke and the beautiful and mysterious genie Scheherazade who seemed to be driving the show. Being from away, I was a little nervous that I would not understand the humour but I found myself laughing along with the audience. Settings that are all too familiar, like Victoria Park, and a song written for downtown’s Victoria Row, were present in the show which made it feel all the more special, like an ode to this place we love. The story is also set around Christmas time so that element brought on an extra dose of that joy and cheer that the holiday season can bring.
As I sat there and watched the interactions of the actors with the audience and the tributes made to the familiar locale, I have never felt so at one with an audience. This production brings the Island together and highlights so many things that make this place special. I moved here three years ago from a bustling city thousands of miles away with a population of at least 80% more but this silly adaptation of Aladdin was one of the strongest reminders that I am so lucky to experience the strong sense of community that living here brings. I could feel the love collectively shared by those involved in the making of this production and the people smiling in their seats for this little island they all call home.
I also want to leave everyone with a final message: LET’S SUPPORT LOCAL. Support local theatre, local talent, and local artisans so that we can continue to be able to witness incredible shows like these. As someone who has loved going out to the pop-up markets with local artisans, shows of local singer-songwriters, art battles featuring local artists, and theatre productions like these, I am constantly in awe of the hard work and dedication that is put into presenting their best to this community and to the rest of Canada and the world. I have only been here for three years but never have I lived in a place that values local as much as PEI does and that is something that we, as a community, need to hold on to. When you support local, you are helping your loved ones, your neighbours, your friends, continue to do what they love to do. There is so much talent on this little island and supporting local will keep that fire burning.
Aladdin: A Fairly Tall Tale will be on stage until the 19th so be sure to grab your tickets to this special event. This wacky show is enjoyable for all ages so bring out your family and friends for what is sure to be a really fun time!
Thank you once again to Fraser McCallum for the invitation to witness such a fun and lovable production!