|Wil Arends as the Emperor|
in The Emperor's New Clothes
Valley Youth Theatre is presenting their first original play in over twenty years, the World Premiere of a new comic version of the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes. Written and directed by VYT alum, and Arizona native David Chorley, we took a few moments to talk to Chorley about his adaptation, his experiences in working with the young cast, as well as his history with Valley Youth Theatre.
As far as the plot of The Emperor’s New Clothes goes, Andersen’s original tale followed the story of a vain Emperor who cares for nothing more than parading about in the finest clothes. Two weavers make him believe they’ve made him the finest suit in the land out of invisible thread that can only be seen by people worthy enough to see it so the royal court and the townspeople go along with the charade, afraid to be seen as unintelligent. However, the classic tale is getting a whole new modern update by Chorley.
|David Chorley in VYT's 2001 production|
|Chorley in Mesa Encore Theatre's 2014 production of Oliver!|
(photo credit: Sarah Rodgers)
|(Back: l. to r.) Megan Cutler, Ronald Tang, Haley Coles;|
(Front: l. to r.) Bryan Namba and Tracey Tang in
VYT's 2001 production of The Emperor's New Clothes -
directed by David Chorley
He previously directed The Emperor’s New Clothes for VYT back in 2001, when he was just 21, which was a Japanese themed Kabuki production. When Copper asked him to direct the play again, Chorley couldn’t find a version that he liked so Copper, VYT’s Producing Artistic Director, suggested he write his own version. Chorley adds that he was a bit surprised that most people in the cast didn’t even know the plot of the original fairy tale. Though he adds, in his adaptation, “the very basic plot points still remain but this new production contains about 95% new story and characters. It’s been compared to Shrek: The Musical in a lot of ways – it takes place long, long ago but is filled with zany and contemporary jokes.”
|Kaila Inman, Ian Gray, Wil Arends and Carly McClain in|
VYT's 2015 production of The Emperor's New Clothes
|Ian Gray in VYT's 2015|
production of The Emperor's New Clothes
Though he's extremely busy, he’s also enjoyed working with the young, talented cast. “I approached the cast in a very similar way that Bobb approached me as a young comedian. Don’t hold back in comedy. I encouraged my actors to bring their funny out. Don’t do these because I think it’s funny, do things because YOU think it’s funny. If it ends up not working, okay, but I really wanted to see what they could bring to the table in terms of comedy. I think every one of my actors added a joke or two to the show in some way. Constantly amazes me how funny they all are.”
And while he wants people to find the humor in the production, he knows there is more to the be taken away from the story. He thinks that parents might leave the theatre thinking to themselves, “Wow, I did not expect to laugh that much!” But, he adds “behind all the jokes and silliness I did work hard to make sure that there was a special message relayed to the children that could and should be applied to their everyday lives.”
The Emperor's New Clothes at Valley Youth Theatre runs through February 22nd. Tickets can be purchase by calling 602.253.8188 x2 or ordering online at VYT.com.