The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
By ASHLEY MICHIE,
Published: May 30 2012
Three billy goats, who describe themselves as rough, tough and gruff, try to cross a bridge despite threats by the bully goat, Osmin, in a one-act opera geared toward children.
The Billy Goats Gruff, the last production of Seattle Pacific’s 51st theater season was also the last show to be directed by Don Yanik at SPU.
This opera featured classical pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gaetano Donizetti and Gioacchino Rossini with children’s lyrics.
Three of the four cast members, junior Olivia Davis, senior Christopher Puckett and junior Aaron Badilla, are classically trained in opera. Junior Stephanie Woods is a theater major who has had voice training for a year under Cherie Hughes, music director for The Billy Goats Gruff.
The performance that took place Wednesday, May 23, was sold out. Children and students were invited to sit on the floor in front of the stage in McKinley Hall’s backstage theater.
Woods said she loved how entranced the children were during the performance. Some of the kids sitting on the floor were holding their hair and attempting to warn the billy goats about the bully, Woods said.
“It was fun to see them interacting,” Woods said. “The kids’ reactions were the best part.”
The play began with Lucy, played by Davis, introducing her “one and only very best friend,” Ernestina, played by Woods. Lucy introduced her other “one and only best friend,” Dandini, played by Badilla. The goats are trying to “squeeze fun into every minute” by playing hide and seek on their way home from school.
The bully, played by Puckett, crept out onstage while the friends were hiding.
He introduced himself to the audience by singing, “I’ll make them feel so crummy, they’ll run home to their mummy.”
The three friends hear the bully and conclude that he sounds like an ugly, hairy, smelly, not-very-intelligent monster, so they continue playing their game.
Later, Osmin introduces himself to the three friends, singing, “I’m a bully, as you can see. There’s no one as mean as me.” The audience responded in laughter when he sang “I’m a bully, and I’m going to poop your party.”
The three friends decide to go home, but the bully will not let them cross the bridge. After they inform the bully that they are going to go over the bridge, he changes the sign from “brit opun” to “brit klozd.”
With no other way to cross the stream, the three friends decide to go the other way to get home, but Lucy realizes she left her doll in a tree on the other side.
When Osmin hides behind a tree, the three goats decide the bridge is safe to cross —especially because there are three of them and only one bully.
Ernestina makes it across the bridge. However, even though she reaches Lucy’s doll, she loses the doll to Osmin when she is frightened by him.
At one point, Osmin scares the billy goats and Dandini faints. Badilla said this action was inspired by fainting-goat YouTube videos. Sometimes the audience would catch on and laugh at this, Badilla said.
Determined to not leave her doll behind, Lucy ventures to cross the bridge even though the bully is blocking her path to the other side.
The short 40-minute opera comes to a climax when Lucy pushes Osmin off the bridge.
At the end of the play, Lucy sings about being kind to “each and every one.”
“Billy Goats Gruff was a wonderful [way] for children to be exposed to opera in a positive way,” Woods said.
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