by Chris Davis
If you missed Voices of the South's children's theater festival this past weekend you missed the debut of one of my favorite original VOTS kids shows since Wilhelmina Millicent’s World of Imagination.
An Old Forest Fairy Tale, by company member Virginia Ralph, tells the story of a little girl who lives near Overton Park and develops a special relationship with the bugs and the frogs and the worms and other icky crawly things as well as the other birds and beasts. She's whisked off to fairyland where she's invited to participate in a play performed by a whale (in a tree costume), a drum-playing polar bear, a redbird, two fairies, and the (ex) planet Pluto. The play within the play — a light opera to be more precise— tells a true story about how a bunch of "old ladies in tennis shoes" saved Overton Park from being bulldozed to make room for the I-240 extension.
It's a thoroughly charming hyper-local fantasy about conservation, and how ordinary people can join together, take a stand, and make a difference even if they're mocked and bullied.
It was beautiful. And here's a clip.
Keep an eye out for future productions of this short, sweet piece.
Also, if you like what VOTS does, they're raising money to keep their children's festival a pay-what-you-can event.