Young Conservatory Actors Talk About Into the Woods

By Claire L. Wong

Just as the set, lighting, and costumes conjure the story world of a show, so too do the narrators of Into the Woods immerse audiences in the lives of the characters. Director Ken Savage’s Young Conservatory production emphasizes the act of storytelling in making everyday life magical. The production features three narrators, actors Pablo Gracia, Keira Lally, and Samantha Resser, who guide the audience through the twists and turns in each tale.


LEFT: Pablo Gracia; CENTER: Keira Lally; RIGHT: Samantha Resser.

“I like that every narrator tells a different fairytale and how we respond and react to every story,” Gracia says. “The best part about being the Baker’s narrator is how I reveal his unfortunate life and help tie everything together.” The disparate threads that weave the stories together also reflect Resser’s favorite part of Into the Woods. “I love the details,” Resser says. “It’s a detailed play, and an addition to a line in the opening could almost completely change the ending.”

Even as the narrators bring the stories to life for the audience, they quickly become drawn into the stories as well. “It’s a little tricky transforming from being the Baker’s narrator to the Baker’s baby,” Gracia says. “Sometimes in Act II, I need to discreetly cry as the baby while acting as the narrator!” Lally encounters a similar circumstance when transforming from the narrator to Milky White, the cow. “You still pretty much have the same personality,” Lally describes, “except you’re part of the story now, and get to wear a cow hat and a sign that says, ‘no less than five pounds.’ It’s fun to wear, and it’s funny.”

When attending the theater, the audience implicitly promises to buy into the story being presented, suspending disbelief for the duration of the show. Productions that break the fourth wall (as when characters speak directly to the audience) add another layer of playfulness to the storytelling. Resser particularly enjoys flipping from the narrator into the giant and Jack’s hen. “It’s like becoming a different identity,” Resser says. “They all have different outlooks, and they know things other people don’t, which can influence their opinion.” Lally expands upon the narrators’ omniscience, describing, “You are the one that gets to tell the story, and you’re kind of in the fourth dimension, between real life and the storybook.”

Venture Into the Woods at the Strand Theater until August 17. To purchase tickets, click here.

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