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“Kissing the Witch” Re-imagines Classic Folk Tales on Ursinus Stage

A dark reimagining of several classic folk tales will be performed virtually for theater audiences this spring as Ursinus College Theater presents Emma Donoghue’s Kissing the Witch, directed by Associate Professor of Theater Meghan Brodie ’00.

Performances will be streamed live at ursinus.edu/live-on-main on Thursday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 27 at 2 p.m.; and Sunday, March 28 at 2 p.m.

Donoghue is an award-wining novelist, playwright, and screenwriter whose feminist perspective weaves together stories of maids, spinsters, queens, and witches, none of whom is what she seems. Audiences might be most familiar with The Tale of the Rose (Beauty and the Beast) and The Tale of the Voice (The Little Mermaid), but these adaptations are intended for adult audiences.

“Our production of Kissing the Witch is a shared imaginative journey,” Brodie said. “The set is spare. Each actor plays multiple roles. This is an ensemble-driven exploration of dark folk tales that continue to resonate with us today.”

While many professional and university theater seasons have been canceled as a result of the pandemic, Ursinus College Theater is again maintaining a full season of physically distant, safe programming that viewers can enjoy from home.

“I chose to livestream Emma Donoghue’s Kissing the Witch because I wanted the students to have the experience of performing live each day of our run,” Brodie said. “The students perform masked, which means each actor has been working on a different type of projection in addition to their usual vocal and physical work. We don’t make any attempt to hide the masks. We are making theater during a pandemic and the masks are a reminder of that; they represent both our commitment to safety as well as our resilience. For me, making art in pandemic times is an act of hope.”

At Ursinus, Donoghue’s feminist reimagining of these tales is helmed by a team of women: director Brodie; scenic designer Meghan Jones; guest costume designer Asaki Kuruma; and lighting, projections, and sound designer Shannon Zura.