‘Andersen: A Fairy Tale Life’ debuts Oct. 21


Looking for something to do this weekend and not sure what? Well, look no further because a family-friendly play will debut this Friday, Oct. 21, at the Neese-Gray Theatre in Garvey Hall 130. This play is full of surprises and is written by one of Washburn’s very own alumni.
“Andersen: A Fairy Tale Life” is written by June McCarty Claire, who graduated in 1966. Julie Noonan, associate professor of the theatre department and director of “Andersen: A Fairy Tale Life,” explains how meaningful it is to have a play featured at Washburn that was written by an alumni.
“June McCarty Claire was in the first group of students who traveled to Copenhagen in international travel in the 60s,” Noonan said. “She was inspired from that trip to write about the life of Hans Christian Andersen.”
The Friday debut of “Andersen: A Fairy Tale Life” marks the 50th reunion for those who took the trip to Copenhagen decades ago, an event linked with Homecoming this year. Additionally, the play also features three generations of actors from Teri Walton’s family and other Washburn graduates.
The actors for this play have been preparing for weeks to perform in front of an audience. One of the lead actors, Joseph Coddington, senior in voice performance, plays the role of teen and adult Andersen in the play. Coddington said that he puts in a lot of work outside of rehearsals to fully prepare himself for the role. For example, he will spend time practicing his lines, listening to the music to get a better feel for it and will even research his character to discover little tidbits of information.
“Andersen is really that ugly duckling character. He’s very awkward and gawky, very much like a misfit,” Coddington said. “He’s not your normal person. His character doesn’t pick up on social cues, but he’s very bubbly. He very much wants to become famous and be a writer, but then also he’s just an over-the-top person with such big goals, and he wants that to reflect on his personality.”
“Andersen: A Fairy Tale Life” will be shown Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-29 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 30 at 2:00 p.m. The play tells the story of Andersen from childhood to adulthood, his journey and his personal struggles as he writes his way to success. The show is family friendly and open to all ages.
“I think the show is a very fun, quirky show for all ages,” Coddington said.
Children are also featured in the show, which was very important to Claire when she wrote the play. The show is appropriate for all ages and entertaining for the whole family. Tickets can be purchased before the show at the Neese-Gray Theatre in Garvey Hall 130.
Copy edited by Justin Shepard, Glorianna Noland