Rumpelstiltskin is pretty dark and scary, even for a fairytale. The German folktale is about a little man who calls himself Rumpelstiltskin and helps a poor miller’s daughter spin straw into gold several times, expecting a reward in return. When the girl is left with no possessions to give, they strike a deal: she will relinquish her firstborn to the imp once she becomes queen.
Sprouts Theatre presented the tale to an auditorium full of excited and jumpy children and their adult chaperones at the Charleston County Public Library on Tuesday morning.
Artistic Director Stan Gill, played multiple roles, including Rumpelstiltskin, the Miller, the King and the Troubadour. Sprouts veteran Sarah Callahan played the Miller’s Maid. The songs were accompanied by Inga Angrest on the piano.
The duo did not have elaborate costumes or sets but exuded tremendous energy. The children were entertained for the length of the performance, which included much interaction that led to a hullabaloo of animated laughter.
The kids were particularly excited to help the Queen figure out names of the various animals in the forest. More than once, someone from the audience would scream out “Rumpelstiltskin” with all his might to help the distressed Queen. This was mostly out of turn, but it was exciting and cute.
The most thrilling moment came at the end. Rumpelstiltskin was furious when the Queen was able to guess his name. Suddenly, a burst of white smoke sent children in the first rows scrambling to the back, where the adults rolled with laughter.
“Rumpelstiltskin” might not be an ideal bedtime story owing to its dark storyline, but the children in the library auditorium are sure to remember this experience fondly.
Ishani Chatterji is a Goldring Arts Journalist from Syracuse University.