Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Grassroots premieres Shakespeare’s Little Mermaid

Classic re-told using words of Shakespeare

OREM / SALT LAKE CITY—Shakespearean scholar Christopher Clark’s groundbreaking adaptation will be staged by the Grassroots Shakespeare Company December 29th through January 10th with performances in Salt Lake City and Orem.

Clark is head of UVU’s Theatrical Arts program, and has directed nationally recognized productions at: UVU, BYU, both area Hale theaters, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival. While earning a Master’s at the University of Exeter, Clark became interested in using the words of Shakespeare as a vehicle for adaptation. He says The Little Mermaid was a natural fit: “The works of Hans Christian Anderson are already very Shakespearean. The plots are thick and intense and there are often elements of fairies and magic—but the heart of the plays are always very human and real.”

To create the script, Clark combed through all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays to find words and pieces of dialogue that could be re-fashioned into a new telling: “It wasn’t difficult for me to find text throughout the plays to help convey the story. I’ve been studying and working with Shakespeare for almost twenty years and I have a pretty good grasp on the plays. I just had to think hard enough and I’d remember a line or a passage from the plays that seemed to convey what the characters in The Little Mermaid were saying or feeling.”

Although crafted for family audiences, Clark says this adaptation doesn’t shy away from some of the tragic themes contained in the original story: “I love the Disney version as much as anyone and I certainly don’t want to discount what they did with it. But I do feel that the true, original version of the story deserves to be told as well. It doesn’t end happily and there’s much more pain and sacrifice. I think it’s a true version of what love often is. It’s lonely and difficult and sometimes we simply choose the wrong person.” Clark hopes this telling will spark important discussions for audience members: “I have two daughters myself and I look forward to seeing the show and having these important conversations with them. How much of ourselves are we willing to sacrifice to be with someone else?”

The Little Mermaid performs December 29th - January 3rd at UVU’s Noorda Theatre in Orem, and January 5th - 10th at the historic Ladies Literary Club in Salt Lake City. 

Tickets may be purchased at: