LAURINBURG — While young readers often scan the library’s shelves in the hope of immersing themselves in a fantasy, a pair of actors brought fairy tales to life — in three dimensions — in Wednesday’s installment of the Scotland County Memorial Library summer reading program.
Zoey Norris and Philip Eggers are part of Bright Star Touring Theatre, an Asheville-based group that performs a selection of historical and fictional skits as well as modern-day morality plays, all tailored to a young audience.
Set against a handpainted backdrop depicting a medieval castle, the duo acted out a few of the well-known pieces of folklore compiled 200 years ago by the Brothers Grimm.
What they lacked in numbers they made up in technique, seamlessly darting behind the curtain for quick costume changes — Eggers from a handsome prince to the gnomelike Rumplestiltskin and back again — while the other held the full attention of several hundred children.
The actors laced each skit with humor and contemporary references; when Eggers’ prince bemoaned his slow progress in finding a queen, Norris as a miller’s daughter with designs on the crown picked up the chorus of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Later, faced with spinning the entire “royal straw reserve” — housed, the prince pointed out, in a former Blockbuster — into gold, the girl faced the hopelessness of her ploy.
“I can’t even turn an egg into an omelette,” Norris exclaimed. “I have no idea how I’m going to turn all this straw into gold.”
At the tale’s conclusion, the actors quizzed their audience on its possible moral, gleaning close guesses like “Don’t be greedy all the time” and “Never lie.”
“We must always choose our words carefully and consider the consequences of our actions,” said Norris, a line oddly similar to one she would later utter while in the costume of Little Red Riding Hood.
Departing from some of the original stories, each skit performed came with a happy ending — in Red Riding Hood’s case, she avoided being eaten by turning the tables to ask how the wolf would feel if someone ate his grandmother.
“Because these stories are so old, there are many versions of them out there, and I love every single one,” Eggers said.
Bright Star Touring Theatre was the third feature in the library’s 2015 Summer Reading Program, which will continue at 2 p.m. on July 15 with Local Hero Story Time.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.