Fairytales enchant Descanso Gardens with returning play

Hazel Paiz/Courier - The Big Bad Wolf attempts to gain the crowd’s sympathy in his tale of woe as part of a ‘Stories Under the Oaks’ performance named The Autobiography of the Big Bad Wolf performed by the Ensemble Shakespeare Theatre in Descanso Gardens on Saturday, March 19 in La Canada Flintridge.

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Nestled between flowered trees, white blooms trailing like delicate lace, and the quiet lily-padded ponds of Descanso Gardens unfolded the first of many performances, straight out of a child’s book: “The Autobiography of the Big Bad Wolf.”

Hazel Paiz/Courier Red Riding Hood slowly learns about her Grandmother’s true identity as part of a ‘Stories Under the Oaks’ performance named The Autobiography of the Big Bad Wolf performed by the Ensemble Shakespeare Theatre in Descanso Gardens on Saturday, March 19 in La Canada Flintridge.

Performed by the Ensemble Shakespeare Theater returning to the gardens for the second run of their show, the “Autobiography of The Big Bad Wolf,” chronicles what the actors would like to be known as the real story of the Big Bad Wolf that so many have grown up with.

A play that incorporates three different glue-stick-and-felt sets, the autobiography begins with the narrator named Eugene detailing his youth crying “wolf” and effectively aggravating his village peers, until the story takes an unusual turn.

While not spoiling the plot, written by Jeremy Radin, the narrator himself becomes the wolf when the village witch has had enough of his compulsive lies and casts a spell on him, transforming him into the infamous Big Bad Wolf.

While the story of the Big Bad Wolf has been exhausted throughout many generations, this rendition is a bit wittier and incorporates characters from other well-known fairytales.

The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood with her grandmother in tow, and another wolf named Duane all make appearances in the play.

With a cast of about eight actors, each do a charming interpretation of the many characters they portray. The Three Little Pigs are no longer timid and trembling, but become wizards with berets and bowler hats, speaking in rather convincing German, French, and Old-English accents.

The story of Beauty and the Beast also becomes intertwined with the tale of the wolf, leaving the audience with a nostalgic and satisfying denouement.

The play, running for a solid hour, is child-friendly, the audience brimming with strollers and sippy-cups. This does not mean that parents and other adult attendees will not find a chuckle within the well-written play.

As a refreshing departure from the classic stories, the play is humorous and the wolves don’t devour any well-meaning forest-goers, keeping things G-rated. As the audience relocates a short distance between three small sets, the play is just the right length of time as to not lose the attention of the audience who has mostly just learned to walk.

A day at Descanso Gardens will undoubtedly include strolls among lush garden trails, stops amid shaded groves canopied by towering trees, and maybe even a ride on the Enchanted Railroad. “The Autobiograpy of the Big Bad Wolf,” should be included into a day at the gardens even if to only satisfy the children in the group, or the child within the adults as well.

“The Autobiography of the Big Bad Wolf” will be running to Descanso Gardens on March 20, 25, and 26 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information about the play and the gardens, visit Descanso Garden’s Website.

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