The Emperor of Kopecknia is a vain,
egotistical man. Disparaging his predecessorís wasting of the countryís
financial resources on such foolishness as schools and roads, he has
pledged himself to giving his people what they really desire, the daily
view of Himself dressed in the finest clothing he can have made.
The play ďThe Emperorís New
Clothes,Ē playing at Sutter Street Theatre Saturdays and Sundays through
September 14, was written by local childrenís theatre writers and
producers Bob and Ro Gerould, who have 25 years experience creating
entertainments in the Sacramento area. Directed by Ro, as the story
opens we learn that the Emperorís two storage closets are full to
capacity and that he has no tailors to make his next outfits, his last
tailor having been sent to his dungeon for displeasing him. This is a
crisis because the Emperor appears to his people six times a day in
different costumes and never wears the same thing twice.
Enter Fric and Frac, two talentless
swindlers who survive by convincing whomever they can fool that they can
do whatever task needs to be performed. Hired by the Emperorís jester,
they go to work on a garment for the Emperor, supposedly made of
material invisible to anyone who is stupid or unfit for his position.
They promise that this robe will permit the Emperor to learn what his
people really think of him.
Probably everyone know the Hans
Christian Andersen story, so the fun of this delightful production is
not in the suspense of wondering how it will turn out, but in the charm
of the Gerouldís adaptation and especially in the hilarious performances
by the cast of five.
In the role of the Emperor local
theatre veteran Paul Greisen is properly pompous and despicable. Lori
Ackerman, making her theatrical debut, is excellent, alternately
quailing and ingratiating as the Emperorís secretary Bernie, who
organizes his hectic life as idol to his people. Ryan Taylor as Fric and
Jennie Vaccaro as Frac turn in convincing performances as the two
swindlers who will do anything (except real work) for good meals and a
The outstanding performer, in my
view, is Cassidy Cagney as the Emperorís jester Pilly. In this role she
not only kowtows to her boss, sweeping the path before him as he struts
about, she also serves as confidant to the fake tailors and recruits the
audience to perform as the Emperorís subjects. She bounces around the
stage and into the audience and is always fun to watch.
Eileen Beaverís amazing costumes,
especially her outfits for the Emperor and Pillyís jester garb, are
wonderful as they always are at Sutter Street. This is definitely a show
to bring children to see. They will love the story and the performers.
And adults will have a delightful time as well, seeing a new take on a
story they know from their own childhoods.
Sutter Street Theatre is to be
congratulated for teaming up with Bob and Ro Gerould to bring this
delightful show to Folsomís weekends. I hope we will see more of the
Gerouldís entertainments in the future.