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Snow White & the Several Dwarves
Dearriona Pawlowski as Show White performs with other cast members in the East Union High production of “Snow White & the Several Dwarves. - photo by HIME ROMERO
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” is a story that most people are intimately familiar with.

But thanks to the East Union High School Playbox Theater, a modern spin on Grimm’s original script is running today and Saturday and then again April 8-9. “Snow White and the Several Dwarves”  is showcasing the talent that the young thespians can bring to the Black Box stage.

And it’s more than entertaining enough to keep you both laughing and feeling for the characters that Annette Taser’s Performing Arts class bring to life.

Dearriona Pawlowski is dynamite as the young and tortured daughter of a king that is under the spell of his black magic-practicing wife – being forced to the menial labor typically not reserved for princess. Pawlowski lets her solitude shine through as she scrubs floors and is ridiculed by Queen Quella (spectacularly played by Chelsea Paslay) and retreats within her own head to escape the abuse.

When the evil stepmother sends her two guards out to kill Snow White in the forest, and the fairies that she calls out to when she’s alone with her thoughts appear and help usher her to safety in the Black Forest house of the Seven Dwarves, the next chapter of the story truly begins to unfold.

In their first meeting, Weepy – played by Carlos Rodriguez – stands out among his fellow dwarves with his over-the-top performance that draws more than its fair share of laughter from the audience. Timid and scared rather than outright inconsolable, it’s Rodriguez who declares that “she’s dead” when Snow White eats the poisoned apple given to her incognito by her stepmother.

And it’s Pawlowski who then appropriately tells Prince Valiant, played by Robert Dominguez, that she can’t marry him until she completes her college education. It’s a modern-day twist on the old fairy tale that almost every child grows up getting to know.

One of the under-the-radar stars of the show is Good Queen Holly Hazen. She represents the positive side of the evil stepmother and plays her conscience to show that somebody aside from the people in the Black Forest really is looking out for her best interest.  Hazen isn’t as vocal as Paslay in her royal role, but her subtle injections are welcome and contrasting to the opposite side of the ego spectrum.

Making things even better is Abraham Valles as “The Mirror” – giving Paslay exactly what she deserves when inquiring “who is the fairest one of them all?” He’s sharp and witty, and after handed a deer heart that was being passed off as Snow White’s to get the guards off the hook for not killing her, hints that he needs to “get his resume updated.”

It’s modern comedy intertwined with a classic tale of love, acceptance, and redemption. The East Union Playbox Theater and its ensemble cast should be commended for their performance Thursday night, and will likely repeat it in their performances tonight and tomorrow.

What better way to be a patron of the arts that support local high school students trying to hone their skills on the craft? You’ll be glad you did.

Performances of Snow White and the Several Dwarves continue tonight at 7 o’clock and on Saturday with a matinee showing at 1 p.m. Additional showings will be held on April 8-9 – both at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for children and $7 for adults, and can be purchased at the door or in advance by contacting East Union High School at (209) 858-7270.