THE SECRET IN THE WINGS
By Mary Zimmerman
Directed by Annie G. Levy
An adaptation of lesser-known Grimms' fairy tales that reflects the darker undercurrents of childhood. With Zimmerman’s unique wit and humor fully on display, the story concerns a child and her frightening babysitter who shares with her stories of hope, despair, terror, and resilience.
FEBRUARY 9-12, 2023
All performances open to the public
The Secret In The Wings is produced by special arrangement with Bruce Ostler, BRET ADAMS, LTD., 448 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036.
Run Time: TBA
Content Advisory: Based on Grimms' fairy tales, the play includes references to and highly stylized depictions of murder, incest, betrayal, infanticide, and cannibalism.
Sensory Advisory: TBA
A note on COVID safety: Please know that as an audience member for any of our performances, you will be required to wear a well-fitted mask, and ensure that you are not experiencing any Covid symptoms nor have had close contact with someone diagnosed with Covid in the last 10 days, before entering the performance space. Additional safety requirements may be added at any time at the discretion of Emerson College, the City of Boston, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Any prospective ticket buyer with concerns about health safety protocols is encouraged to call our Box Office at 617-824-8400.
The Secret in the Wings
A note from the
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Annie G. Levy is a theatre-maker and director whose work often revolves around mythology, historical turning points, and scientific breakthroughs. Her original pieces include Space Rock | Door Stop, Tree Army: The CCC Project, Daughter of the Sun, and SIX SEEDS: The Persephone Project. Levy is a founding member of the World Wide Lab (WWL), an international director’s collective and theatre laboratory. With WWL, she has created work for the Irondale Center in Brooklyn, Teatro Due in Rome, Syros Institute on the Greek Island of Syros, Art Zone 453 in Taipei, Taiwan, and for the Superior Theatre Festival in Thunder Bay, Canada. She has also created and directed new work with theatre incubator warner | shaw, the Northwood Theatre Company, and various other theatres in her home town of NYC, including City Center, Dixon Place, HERE, The New Ohio Theatre, Theatre at the Tank, Fringenyc, and Access Theatre. Levy is the recipient of a FAIR assistantship at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a residency at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, Paul Artist Residency at Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Uptown/Downtown Artist. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab and an associate member of SDC. She serves as the artistic director of Emerson Stage at Emerson College. www.annieglevy.com
A note from
While ancient mythology across cultures is rooted in history, nature, and religious practices, folk tales capture rituals and cultural values passed down through the spoken word from generation to generation. The act of collecting stories from an oral tradition onto the written page became popular in the 17th century, and began to solidify nationalistic fairy tale canons.
The source material for “The Secret in the Wings” includes six obscure fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm “Children's and Household Tales,” (1815, Germany) and Calvino’s Italian Folktales (1956, Italy) collections, with evocative images of an ogre and a rose – taken from Charles Perrault’s “Beauty and the Beast'' (1697, France.) – woven throughout. The haunting scenes explored in The Three Blind Queens; Stolen Pennies; The Princess Who Wouldn’t Laugh; The Three Snake Leaves; Allerleira or Grimm’s “Thousand-furs;” The Stolen Pennies; and The Six Swans, or Silent for Seven Years unfold at a familiar fairy tale like speed, yet each story blends into one another before they come to their conclusions in a whimsical and surreal dreamscape.
When director and playwright Mary Zimmermen and an ensemble of actors at the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago first devised the script for “The Secret in the Wings” in the early 1990’s, the individual names of the actors were written into the text. Characters in fairy tales are often unnamed, holding titles based on occupation or social class including “Kings” and “Queens” or the “miller’s son,” which activates a child’s imagination to place themselves into the stories. The script calls for the ensemble members of each production to do the same, and the Emerson actors on our stage lend their own names to the characters as they step into each role.
Austrian-born American psychologist Bruno Bettleheim studied the role of fairy tales within childhood development and theorized that fairy tales do not pertain to the here and now, and that this vagueness symbolizes a departure from the concrete world of everyday life into a realm of magic and fantasy. It is through this unraveling of reality that children are able to grapple with developmental issues including parental relationships, power dynamics, fears, and shame. Bettlehiem further theorized that the fantastical nature of these stories is an important device to communicate problems that do not represent a literal or external world, but rather an inner process taking place in a child’s mind.
Each tale in “The Secret in the Wings” explores themes of love, shame, loyalty, and transformation through the playful lens of the inner child; where the basement is simultaneously an enchanted forest, and naughty boys are turned into swans. Creating a theatrical experience for an adult audience, Mary Zimmerman playfully experiments with the dark themes found in these lesser known tales including violence, grief, incest, and murder. The play delves further into the exploration of love, and worthiness of love, through images of guilt and shame. Secrecy and silence is the environment where shame thrives, and empathy is the cure. The hero’s journey found at the center of “The Secret in the Wings” leaves us with a sense of redemption and hope that we are indeed worthy of love. It is through speaking our secrets to those who will listen that we are able to conquer shame, and heal its wounds.
MORE FROM THE DRAMATURG
Fairy Tales Around the World
Explore a curated collection of source material and related tales in the “The Secret in the Wings” Padlet Library:
While stories in “The Secret in the Wings” originate from Europe, similar themes and images resonate in cultures around the world. Allerleira is a much darker variant of the popular Cinderella tale, with origins found in the story of “Yè Xiàn” (China), and images from the “The Three Blind Queens” can be traced back to an ancient Indian folktale. The symbols and themes in these stories contain within them the weight and breath of hundreds of thousands of years of the human experience.
“You're not just holding a rose, you're holding an entire universe.” - Annie G. Levy, Director of "The Secret in the Wings”
Jon Luke Lassa
Artistic and Production Staff
Assistant Director BRENDA HUGGINS
Assistant Director ZACH FULLER
Movement Co-Captain/Intimacy Captain CLARA LIVINGSTON
Movement Co-Captain ERIN SULLIVAN
Assistant Scenic Designer AVA SCANLON
Scenic Artist ARIANA DOOKHRAN
Scenic Painter LULU BATZORIG
Assistant Props Lead AMAYA GONZALEZ-MOLLMANN
Assistant Costume Designer AVA-SOFIA SETTOON
Wardrobe Supervisor ATHENA PARKMAN
Production Electrician PIPER PHILLIPS
Lead Electrician HENRY KACIK
Assistant Lead Electrician STEL STEIN
Assistant Sound Designer JO WILLIAMS
Production Sound Engineer SARAH MILLER
Assistant Production Sound Engineer LORENZO SOSA LOPEZ
Assistant Technical Director CASPER APODACA
Assistant Stage Manager MICHAEL MENOR
2nd Assistant Stage Manager JANIE HILLMAN
Production Assistant BEE LACLAIR
Production Assistant NONA FERNEY
Production Supervisor BLAKE BERGGREN
Assistant Production Supervisor ESTHER CHILSON
Company Manager ALEX TAWID DI MAGGIO
Assistant Company Manager MATTHEW GUERBER
GILBERT ALMARAZ, NIK BERGER, GABI DAVID, HANNAH DELLERT, CHLOE DESROSIERS, TUCKER GOLD, SAWYER GRABOW, ABBY KOBBERGER, OSCAR MCQUILKIN, MAC MEDEIROS, LUCY NEGRON HALL, GRACE OSIER, CRUZ PAXTON, MASON POFAHL, ELIZABETH TIPPENS, BECCA TOBIN
LUCAS BABCOCK (he/him)
BFA '23 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credits: The Spitfire Grill (Joe Sutter), Into the Woods (Male Swing), The Late Wedding (Narrator/Ensemble), An Interior of the Artist Without Her Sister (Thoby), and Corduroy (Corduroy). Regional credits: Clear Space Theatre Company's Grease (Danny), 9 to 5 (Dwayne/Ensemble), and Joseph...Technicolor Dreamcoat (Rueben/Ensemble); and Dr. Phillips Center's A Funny Thing…Forum (Marcus Lycus). Lucas would love to thank the cast and creative team for fostering a great learning environment!
HANNAH BOSSANGE (any pronouns)
BFA '25 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage credit: NewFest Short Works: 'Til Death Do Us Part (Eliza). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society’s Emerson Fights AIDS Cabaret; emShakes' The Moors (Emilie) and A Midsummer Night's Dream! (Fairy). Film Credits: Emerson Independent Video’s Subject 119. Object Permanence (Stevie). Thanks to everyone in the cast and crew, my family, and to Zoe and Emma.
SPENCER DANIEL (he/him)
BFA '24 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage credits: NewFest Short Works: Sometimes a Soul (Derek), This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (Man 2/ Peter), Marie Antoinette (Understudy, Axel/Joseph/Mr. Sauce), Three Romances for the Unwell and Otherwise (Understudy, Robert), and Old Jake’s Skirts (Old Jake). Emerson College credits: emShake’s [Enter Messenger] (Chorus) and Interior with Peder and Marie (Peder); and Full Fathom’s Life, Death, Bowling (Darryl). Love to Dads, Campbell, James, and especially Mom, who ‘once upon a time…’ read me these same fairy tales.
LISA DOUBEK-KRAFT (she/they)
BFA '23 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage credit: NewFest Short Works: Kings (Vi). Emerson College theatre credits: RareWorks Theatre Company’s sub (Monia) and Feeding the Moonfish (Moonfish/Voices). Thanks to my mom, dad, and brother for coming out to see it!
BFA '25 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage credit: Old Jake’s Skirts (Swing). Emerson College credits: Big Fish (Edward Bloom) and The Moors (The Mastiff). Regional credits: You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Charlie Brown), Spring Awakening (Otto), and DNA (Richard). Thanks to this FABULOUS cast and crew. Get ready to feel amazingly creeped out.
LOEY JONES-PERPICH (she/they)
BFA '24 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage credits: As You Like It (Duke Frederick) and NewFest Short Works: The Archetypes (Doctor Symbolism). Emerson College credits: emShakes' A Midsummer Night's Dream! (Titania/Theseus), Musical Theatre Against the Grain’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Chip's Mom), Musical Theatre Society's First Lady Suite (Lady Bird/Kay Summersby), and Floor 13's Looking Down (Realtor). Thank you to my cool family, my sweet friends, this fantastic ensemble, and my awesome girlfriend for your support. Happy birthday, Walden! @loeykjp
BFA '25 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: emShakes’ Humble Boy (Rosie) and The Moors (Huldey); and Emerson Independent Video’s How It Ended (April) and Floor 13: Looking Down (Angelica). Regional credits: Blauvelt Theater’s Chicago (Velma Kelly), Our Town (Emily Webb), and Cabaret (Texas). Favorite film credits: Mage Hunter (Jade) and Ernaline (Sayna). Special thanks to my sister, the cast and crew, and all of the incredible people who made my first EmStage show great! Instagram: _sarakelley_
JON LUKE LASSA
BFA '23 Theatre Education and Performance. Emerson Stage credit: RAGE (Derek/RAGE). Emerson College credits: Kidding Around's Moksha (Frugavore) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Ed Boone); emShake's [Enter Messenger] (Ensemble); and Mercutio Troupe's A Hanukkah Story (Erik). Other credit: The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum (Samuel Adams / Samuel Gore). Thank you Mom and Dad, Bethany Nelson and my family of friends for both supporting and making amazing art with me!
BFA '23 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage Credits: Are You Someone to Somebody? A New Devised Piece (Assistant Director/Dramaturg/Understudy), and This Girl Laughs… (Carmen). Select Emerson College credits: Executive Director of emShakes Theatre Company, emShake's Cymbeline (Co-Director), Macbeth (Assistant Director), The Fog Around Us (Angel), and Much Ado About Nothing (Leonato), Kidding Around’s Seussical (Executive Producer) and upcoming A Wrinkle in Time (Director). Thank you to Annie & tSitW team for the opportunity to be a part of this work. Shoutout to the SAMBAs and anyone here for Picture Yourself - I am immeasurably grateful to have chosen Emerson as my artistic home.
BFA '23 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College theatre credits: Kidding Around's Moksha (Prop Design); Musical Theatre Against the Grain’s Rock of Ages (Costume Design), Hold for Room Tone (Dancer) and Debut Cabaret (Performer); and Rare Works Theatre Company’s The Clinic (Rachel).
MIKE RISO (he/him)
BFA '24 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage credit: NewFest Short Works: Kings (Tan). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society’s Tavern Song (Kieran); and emShakes' Humble Boy (Felix) and The Moors (Moor-Hen). Regional credits: Simsbury Summer Theatre's Working: A Musical (Ironworker, Joe) and The Drowsy Chaperone (Underling). Wishing all my thanks to ECW, Acappellics, and all the friends that've supported me in getting to make art with such great people. Plus Ultra!
CONALL SAHLER (he/him)
BFA '24 Acting. Emerson Stage credits: Old Jake’s Skirts (E.B. Sweeney, Good Samaritan), RAGE (Conflagration Ensemble/Understudy, Leveler/Ballzindorf), This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing. (Male Understudy), NewFest Short Works: Where the Fireworks Come From (Gabe), and Vampire Therapy (Doctor), Emerson College credit: emShakes' Ismene: Staged Reading (Polynices, Creon). Other credits: Imagination Stage Performance Ensemble’s Footloose (Willard), Beauty and The Beast (Gaston), Pippin (Charlemagne), The Little Mermaid (Prince Eric), Mamma Mia! (Harry Bright). I would like to thank my family and friends for their love and support!
BFA '24 Theatre Education and Performance. Emerson Stage credit: Three Romances For The Unwell And Otherwise (Emilie). Emerson College credits: Kidding Around's Moksha (Purt/Bhava/Violin); Musical Theatre Against the Grain’s Dream Cabaret (Assistant Director). Thank you to Annie and the team on this beautiful show for a lovely experience. Lots of love to my friends and family for everything always.
BFA '23 Acting. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: Full Fathom’s Fefu and Her Friends (Fefu); and Kidding Around’s 13! The Musical (Kendra). Thanks to the Acting faculty for your endless support and guidance, the '23 acting ensemble for always fostering a safe space for them to grow, and the unwavering love from Mom, Dad, and Marley!
Creative Team Bios
EVONNE JOHNSON—Scenic Designer
BFA '23 Stage & Screen Design Technology. Emerson Stage credits: Are You Someone to Somebody? A New Devised Piece (Scenic Assistant), Into the Woods (Scenic Assistant), Baltimore (Scenic Assistant), and Everybody (Scenic Assistant). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society’s You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Scenic Designer), Full Fathom’s Fefu and Her Friends (Scenic Designer), and emShake’s Helen (Sound Designer). Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way! https://evonnedjohnson.wixsite.com/evonnej
LIV MILLER—Props Lead
BFA '25 Theatre Design and Technology. Emerson Stage credits: Paris (Assistant Costume Designer), Old Jake’s Skirts (Assistant Scenic Designer), Into the Woods (Wig Runner), RAGE (Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor), and Next to Normal (Assistant Props Lead). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Against the Grain's Rock of Ages (Hair/Makeup Designer) and Musical Theatre Society's La Cage Aux Folles (Hair/Makeup Artist and Designer). A huge thank you to my lovely props team for being so wonderful!
TRISTAN RAINES (he/him)—Costume Designer
Tristan Raines is a freelance costume designer, artist, and educator. Tristan has designed Off-Broadway, regionally, and internationally for 15 years. Select venues and companies include New World Stages, Barrow Street Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Goodspeed, La Jolla Playhouse, CTG- LA, The Muny, Carnegie Hall, New York Theater Ballet, Capital Rep, New Rep Boston, Cirque Musica, Company One, and The Maltz Jupiter Theater. Tristan is also the Costume Director for Happy Hour Entertainment and Kaleidoscope Immersive which has representation on Norwegian Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages, and Celebrity Cruises. Tristan is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829. www.tristanraines.com
FELIX CLARKE (any pronouns)—Lighting Designer
BFA '23 Theatre Design & Technology. Emerson Stage credits: Corduroy (Run Crew), Spring Awakening (Assistant Lighting Designer), The Late Wedding (Lead Electrician), Baltimore (Associate Lighting Designer), Next to Normal (Production Electrician), and Three Romances for the Unwell & Otherwise (Lighting Designer). Emerson College credits: Musical Theater Society’s Heathers (Lighting Designer) and Gruesome Playground Injuries (Lighting Designer). I'd love to thank my wonderful production teammates for their collaboration and hard work, as well as my academic advisors and parents who have supported me over the years.
ELIZABETH CAHILL—Sound Designer
Sound Area Head and Resident Sound Designer for Emerson Stage. Recent Emerson Stage design credits include: This Girl…, Marisol, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Amanuensis, Squeaky Fromme Love Song, Working, Pride and Prejudice, and many others. Elizabeth has sound designed for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Lyric Stage Co., SpeakEasy Stage, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, New Repertory Theatre, Gloucester Stage, Shakespeare and Company, The A.R.T. Institute, Dance The Yard, Central Square Theatre, New England Conservatory, Fresh Ink Theatre, Bridge Rep, Greater Boston Stage Company, Hasty Pudding Theatricals at Harvard University, Brownbox Theatre Project, Baldwin Wallace University, Boston Conservatory, Moonbox Productions, and more. A/V Supervisor for operas with New England Conservatory, Boston Early Music Festival, and Boston University. elizabethsound.com
CHARLIE BERRY (they/them)—Stage Manager
BFA '23 Stage and Production Management. Emerson Stage credits: The Wolves (Production Supervisor), BFA Showcase ’22 (Co-Stage Manager), As You Like It (Associate Production Supervisor), Baltimore (Assistant Stage Manager), Going to California (Assistant Stage Manager), Everybody (Co-Production Supervisor), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Assistant Production Supervisor), NewFest Readings and Shorts '20 (Production Assistant), and Augusta and Noble (Production Assistant). Emerson College credit: Emerson Dance Company’s Elevate (Stage Manager). Regional credit: Lyric Stage’s The Light (Assistant Stage Manager). Many thanks to Bean for decorating all my show blacks with cat fur.
MAX CONNOR (he/him)—Music Director
BFA '24 Musical Theater. Music Direction credits: Emerson Stage's Into The Woods (Assistant Music Director), and Weston Drama Workshop's Lion King Jr. (Music Director) and Tuck Everlasting (Assistant Music Director).
SUZIE RZECZNIK (she/they)—Movement Director
Suzie is a movement director and dancer based between Boston and NYC. As a performer, Suzie has been seen with Phish at MSG, the art installation at Panorama Music Festival, in work by Kelly-Ashton Todd, Boy Friday, Mike Esperanza, the Kuperman brothers, Elena Vazintarias, and many others. Her work has been presented by BOMB Magazine, DIY Dancer Magazine, Marie Claire Mexico Magazine, Triskelion Arts, HiArtist, Maine International Film Festival, Mobius Gallery, Create Art/The Ace Hotel, Boston Conservatory, and Keshet Arts. Suzie is thrilled to be a part of this Emerson Stage production!
ANGIE JEPSON—Intimacy Director
Angie is an intimacy director, fight director, actress, and professor based in the Boston area. Her fight and intimacy work has been seen onstage at theatres including the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Huntington Theatre Company, Trinity Repertory Company, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Gloucester Stage, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Greater Boston Stage Company, Central Square Theatre, and at several universities in the Boston area. She is currently on faculty in the Brown/Trinity MFA Acting program, and at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where she teaches in the theatre and opera departments. She is a Certified Intimacy Director with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators, a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors, and she holds an MFA in Acting from Brandeis University.
MFA '23 Applied Theatre. Emerson College credit: TEGA’s Cupid and Psyche (Director), Regional credits: Guerilla Opera’s Emergence Composer Fellowship (Director and Dramaturg); Boston Conservatory’s Serse (Dramaturg); Longy School of Music’s 334 Bunnies (Director); Boston Playwright Theatre’s Russian Theatre Festival (Dramaturg), Three Women and a Bear (Director); Opera del West’s Le nozze di Figaro (Director), Don Pasquale (Director), The Seagull (Director), The Clever Artifice of Harriet and Margaret (Director); Cantanti Project’s Teseo/Medea (Director and Puppetry Artist); and Puppet Showplace Theater’s Mr. Twister and the Tale of Tornado Alley (Director and Puppetry Artist). brendalynnhuggins.com
Emerson Stage Staff
Artistic Director—Annie G. Levy
General Manager—David Colfer
Assistant General Manager—Joshua M. Feder
Production Manager—Timothey Sullivan
Interim Production Manager—Deb Sullivan
Technical Director—Kristin Knutson
Props Director—Ryan Bates
Costume Shop Supervisor—Richelle Devereaux-Murray
Resident Sound Designer—Elizabeth Cahill
Head Carpenter—Connor Thompson
Scenic Painter—Joe Keener
Sound Technician—Steven Deptula
Assistant Costume Shop Supervisor—Becky Thorogood
Assistant Properties Manager—Lauren Corcuera
Stage and Production Management—Debra A. Acquavella
Scenic Design—Luciana Stecconi
Scenic Painting—Joe Keener
Costume Design—Tristan Raines
Lighting Design—Scott Pinkney
Sound Design—Elizabeth Cahill
Interim Dramaturgy—Alexandra Juckno
Emerson Stage Office Assistants— Alex Tawid Di Maggio, Jake Tolentino, Esther Chilson, Karli Fisher, Carly Mentis, Samantha Duggan
Production Management Assistants—Olivia Tighe, Blake Berggren
Videographers—Xiao Chen and Juanes Serrano
Scenic Technicians—Casper Apodaca, Jonah Barricklo, Sean Dougherty, Marco Giacona, Emerson Hart, Davis Kranchalk, Dylan Norris, Mercy Suarez, Elise Tuckwood
Scenic Artists/Painters—Sofia Goldfarb, Fernando Rueda, Elizabeth Fuire, David Staats, Katherine Kendrick, Sarah Stevens, Alex Mollo
Paint Shop Assistant—Sophie Hartstein
Prop Shop Assistant—Delene Beauchamp, Amaya Gonzalez-Mollmann, Oliver Hawke, Mariel Richardson, Ava Scanlon, Mercy Suarez
Stitchers—Amaris Rios, Ava-Sofia Settoon, David Estabrooks, Dom Letterii, Greta Morgan, Lorence Jones-Perpich, Munroe Shearer, Tayla Dixon, Trixie Ward
Costume Shop Office Assistant—Zhiyan Jin
Laundry Assistants—Angelina Parillo
Stock Attendants—Lucile Lyon, Megan Decker, and Aleah Bloom
Light Lab Inventory Assistant—Piper Phillips