“Cinder-Ella” slips into ARC Theatre for limited engagement


On February 2, 2013, Adjunct-Faculty member Tracy Martin Shearer is counseling a student about the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. (Photo by Robert Aguilar)

Production head dishes about what makes this rendition of a classic unique

The Current speaks with Tracy Martin Shearer, an adjunct faculty member in Theater Arts department and director of the children’s theater production“Cinderella,” spelled “Cinder-Ella,” which is coming to ARC May 11.

What can you tell us about the Children’s Theatre productions that take place at American River College?

It is the only show we do that rehearses and performs during the day, so it’s for students who are sometimes unavailable during the evenings. It’s also an opportunity for people to audition who aren’t experienced actors. My goal for Children’s Theater is twofold, one: to work with actors and help introduce them into the world of children’s theater. It’s a different style of acting. And two: I like to take theater to the community and share it with young people. We go to elementary schools around the college.

When do you start performing?

We start our elementary school tour in April, but those are not public performances. They are only performances at the elementary schools. We plan to have two public performances on May 11 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and it’s just $5. It’s for adults and kids alike. We try to keep it inexpensive.

What are major differences between the Children’s Theatre production of “Cinder-Ella,” and the main semester production “The Three Musketeers?”

The children’s show has two rehearsals a week for about three hours, and we are up and running after about 5-6 weeks. We have a set that has to tour, so it’s very spare, and the actors really have to create as much of the magic as possible. It’s wacky, and it’s delightful. I casted it a couple weeks ago and we are already rehearsing.

How does this version of “Cinderella” compare to either the Disney classic or the original book?

It is a bit different. “Cinder-Ella” is a little bit more of a modern girl, the characters are more well rounded, and, while it’s still a romantic fairytale, they don’t necessarily need another person to become complete. They are just happy to get along. There is also a whole level of humor for adults in the room. It’s not by any means inappropriate, but there is a lot that the adults will catch but kids won’t.

Is this the first time you’ve directed “Cinder-Ella?” How was it chosen?

“Cinderella” was the first children’s production that I directed here, more than 15 years ago. It was the traditional version and less wacky. I chose it because I thought it would be fun to revisit “Cinderella” and every student I told went crazy for the idea.