Adventure Theatre stages weekly ‘Fairy Tales in the Sun’ outdoors at Glen Echo Park

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Fairy Tales in the Sun' (Part 1)

In-person performances are officially back at Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo, Maryland.

“Fairy Tales in the Sun” premiered Sunday night for weekly shows now through Sept. 6.

“[We’re] doing a live presentation in one of the grassy areas in the park,” Artistic Director Chil Kong told WTOP. “We are literally constructing a stage. COVID did a lot of things, including redefining space for everyone. We created a new space that allows people to come and congregate outside in the sun, and we’re building a stage in this grassy area.”

The show features two one-act plays, including “The Flood in the Future” by Lyra Yang.

“‘What happens when the Great Flood comes?” Kong said. “It is about a girl who decides to give up her youth to save the world. … It is a fun adventure trying to find out how we protect our future. … Every culture has a Flood Myth. Lyra is ethnically Chinese American, so she has lots of stories of Chinese flood myths. It deals with the old goddess Nü Wa.”

The second one-act play is called “From Cinders to Ella” by Michelle Lynch.

“She took on this mantle of the Cinderella story,” Kong said. “There’s a lot of Cinderella stories, so she came up with this idea: How about we create a Cinderella story that has no men in the story? So, it is a loving story about how women can inspire themselves and work out what they need to in order to have a full life and what a Cinderella can be.”

It’s all brought to life by Director Stan Kang, a native of Arlington, Virginia.

“This beautiful set piece [with] a pagoda that has an elevated top cap,” Kong said. “The stage itself has these magic panels that slide in and out. … You’ll see beautiful blue silk that represents the rivers. … When Cinderella has an argument with her stepsisters, things break or rip. … This idea of magic is started by the Fairy Godmother using a wand.”

While the new production is outside, mask protocols will still be followed as Adventure Theatre safely returns to in-person performances after more than a year of digital shows.

“Every week, every Sunday, we have had a digital presentation of some kind,” Kong said. “We’ve done over 200 hours of digital presentations throughout the 16 months of COVID.”

The outdoor series sets the stage for Adventure Theatre’s 70th anniversary this fall.

“Adventure started out as a collective of mothers and younger adults who wanted to engage kids, especially in the Glen Echo area,” Kong said. “This park at that time wasn’t doing a lot, so that started this giant endeavor. Our mission is to engage stories and future artists and give them a platform to tell their stories. We train and show them what to do.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Fairy Tales in the Sun' (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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