Falling for the fall play: Grim & Gruesome Grimm

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Photos by Leya Arikat

The cast of Grim & Gruesome Grimm rehearsing for the 2022 fall play.

As the autumn leaves fall to the ground, new opportunities rise for the Athens Drive Theater department. The theater community consists of an award-winning discography of plays and musicals like Antigone Now & In Juliet’s Garden, 16 in Ten Minutes or Less and  Football Romeo. This year, the theater will be running the play, Grim & Gruesome Grimm, from Nov. 2 to Nov. 4.

Ashlynn Hayes, the head of the Fine Arts department, produced last year’s show  Beehive: The 60s Musical and is working on producing Grim & Gruesome Grimm.

“Last year was more of a ‘welcome back!’ type of show; I’ve been thrilled to produce a retelling of a more dark, edgy version of a fairytale,” said Hayes.

In fact, Beehive: The 60s Musical has been reported as quite the welcome back. With almost thirty 60s-era songs that felt like the audience had to stand and start “twisting” and “jerking” with the rest of the cast or they were simply doing it wrong. The setlist, outfits, and hairstyles took them back to the cultural decade using bell-bottoms, go-go boots and miniskirts while also remarking the start of protest marches for women and people of color everywhere for less poverty, segregation and unemployment.

Grim and Gruesome Grim seems extremely contradictory to Beehive: The 60s Musical. The Grimm’s Fairy Tales are known for their childhood charm and reputation for being light and fluffy, almost like if the majority had known the infamous tale of Hansel and Gretel and how it was truly about enslavement and cannibalism, it would not be told to children. The play highlights the openly terrifying background of what the Grimm Brothers were truly about.  

The cast of Grim & Gruesome Grimm rehearsing for the 2022 fall play.

Alayna Fawson, senior, is one of the three leads in this who plays Grisly; Clare Roth plays Ghastly, and Priscilla Palazzo plays Dire.

“I usually would describe the show as the darker side of the Grimm fairy tales, it tells the stories that we really haven’t heard before,” said Fawson. “It’s got some dark humor in it, and I think all of the stories are going to come together in a really creative way.”

While Grim and Gruesome Grim and Beehive: The 60s Musical seem worlds apart, the process of choosing what show to put on stage is always tedious. Liza Medlin, sophomore, works as stage manager and explains the routine of putting a performance on stage as one that consists of various steps and actions.

“Before we even consider the show, we have to think about the budget and what we think our cast will look like. For example, our options will not usually be filled with plenty of male-identifying students for the cast considering how few people who identify as men audition,” said Medlin.

Taking all of these things into the agenda, joining the Athens Drive theater community can be one of the most beneficial things high schoolers can do during their time. Whether students have joined for the community or their passion for the arts, they’ve reported the stage has been there to welcome them with open arms. 

“I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the ‘theater kid’ and while some assumptions might be true, people who like theater can be anybody,” said Hayes. “We have seen such a diverse body of people in the past that there is a place in the world for anyone regardless of what you’re interested in; there is a home in the theater.”