Interactive theatre show lets kids challenge classic fairy tale plot

Two Montreal theatre professionals are staging an interactive fairy tale for kids and offering workshops in interactive theatre at the Arts Alive festival this weekend and next.

Live Action Theatre Project works to break down theatre's 4th wall along with gender constructs

The show Wake-up Sleeping Beauty is being staged as part of the Arts Alive festival in Wakefield and the West Island. (Alain Dahan)

Two Montreal theatre professionals are staging an interactive fairy tale for kids and offering workshops at the Arts Alive community festivals this month.

With the show, Wake-up Sleeping Beauty, Rosaruby Kagan and Julia Ainsworth have created a staged "choose your own adventure" story where the plot goes in the direction decided on by its young audience.

They decided to rework the classic story Sleeping Beauty because its title character is the most passive female archetype there is — making the story a good template for challenging gender stereotypes.

"She just, does nothing. She's the protagonist and she's just sleeping through the entire story," Ainsworth said.

In their take on the classic, Sleeping Beauty wakes up and takes action during the plot while the prince shies away from steering it.

"It's not just girl power … but looking at all gendered expectations," Ainsworth said.

The founders of Live Action Theatre Project, Rosaruby Kagan (L) and Julia Ainsworth. (Alain Dahan)

The show hits a crossroads early when the prince doesn't want to kiss a sleeping woman he doesn't really know.

When characters don't know what to do, they turn to the audience through the narrator, played by Lise Vigneault, a seasoned improv performer.

Vigneault works through a few options with the audience and then the show continues based on their choice.

Kagan and Ainsworth are hosting a workshop in interactive storytelling Sunday afternoon at Arts Alive in Wakefield.

They will also be staging Wake-up Sleeping Beauty  at Arts Alive in the West Island Sept. 23 and 24.