Shrek Article   Leave a comment

Shrek. A show with a Personal Connection

by Janine  Leffler

In  2013  I saw  Shrek  The  Musical at  Peacock  Players and  I remember leaving the theatre  that evening considering  how  I can connect the musical’s theme of  acceptance to my own life experiences. When I first found out this year’s Amherst PTA play was going to be  Shrek  I was beyond excited.  Once I was cast as a  Villager and Skeleton and later the Moon,  I was even more excited, especially to work with the directing team  Roger Hurd, Jenn  Fichera, Karina  Bertrand and Vouli Anthmidou.


How do  can I connect  the message of Shrek to my own life?  Gather round friends.  It’s story time.


I grew up with many disabilities and overcame a  lot of  challenges to get to where I am today.  I was bullied and treated unfairly all throughout school because I was different.   One specific incident in high school, thankfully, changed people’s mindset and things got easier for me.   I am now telling my story to children at schools in the community and encouraging them to stand up for  people who are different and encouraging those with a disability to stand up for themselves.     What makes us special makes us strong.


At the opening scene of Shrek we see Shrek and Fiona being sent away by their parents. Fiona to a tower and Shrek to a swamp …both at  7 years old.  In a way Shrek spends his  whole life being bullied  and running away from tormenters, which is why he feels he is better off alone.   When Fiona is rescued by Shrek she is first shocked at first to realize that he is not the handsome prince that she expected.  She later realizes how  much they  have in common  (music  cue:  “I Think  I Got You Beat”)   and that it is what’s inside  that matters, what not the material things treasured by Lord Farquadd .  It is Shrek’s heart and his love for Fiona that truly matters.


Which character is my favorite in Shrek?  Probably Gingy, played by Patricia  Helbig because he ends up inspiring the rest of the Fairytale Creatures to stand up  to Lord Farquadd.  “Freak  Flag”  is my favorite song and the one I can relate to the most because of all the experiences  I have had.


If anyone  were  to ask me  which character I can relate to the most from  Shrek  I think that would  be a more difficult  question to answer.   Throughout the rehearsal process as I have watched the leads Jennifer Erdody  (Princess  Fiona), Dale  Byrd  (Shrek),  James Middleton  (Donkey) and  Laura  Millar (Dragon) grow into their characters, I find myself relating to each character for different reason, however what ties  each  character to each other is the   bigger theme of wanting  to be accepted.


I would now like to take a moment to thank the directors for choosing this wonderful show.  I have really enjoyed being in it and I think because of the personal connection  I have to the story,  it is my favorite show I have participated in with the PTA….and that’s my story.



This  article will be in  local newspapers and on local  Patch  sites.


Posted April 5, 2016 by theatretechdiva in Amherst PTA, Uncategorized

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