By Kalin Krohe
“SideQuests: The Princess & The Peasant” will be performed June 20-22 and June 27-29 at 7 p.m. at The Mueller Civic Center in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Panhandle Post spoke with playwright and director Justin Guasman about his original play that’s filled with fantasy and comedy.
“It’s kind of a fairy tale, but with a twist. It is also very much inspired by kind of modern fantasy films, games, entertainment media like Shrek or the Princess Bride in turns of tone. It’s an original story, but there’s of course pop culture references. It has got Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings references. It is poking fun at the fantasy genre,” Guasman said.
This is Guasman’s third original play that he has created for Southern Hills Community Theater in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Guasman said it’s always an interesting experience trying to start something new narratively.
“What I really tried to focus on with this show was to do something with South Hills Community Theater. Our mission is to provide family-friendly live theater at an affordable price in the southern Black Hills. There are a lot of community theaters and theater companies that will put on shows that are licensed. Sometimes they do ones that are very well known and sometimes they’ll do ones that are more independent and the quality is not always the best on those. I mean they’re funny, but there might not be anything below the surface. Anything like with a heart. I really wanted to write something that’s got a lot of heart.”
Guasman said he started writing this play back in 2014 or 2015. The play is about a character named Blink. Blink took a vow to never be anyone or do anything important. A missing princess, heroic adventurers, and evildoers bent on taking over the kingdom keep getting in his way.
“It’s kind of turning the camera around from heroes…your traditional knight, princess, and all the things you would expect in a fantasy story. It’s like turning the camera just off to the side to see what the peasant in the background is doing. That plays with what we know about narrative structure and about how stories play out.”
Can the mysterious young woman, Rana, teach Blink it’s okay to be a hero sometimes, or will his stubbornness cause the whole kingdom to go down the tube?
“SideQuests: The Princess & The Peasant” features Abigail Kreilaus, Jesse Powers, Paetyn Van Bibber, Dan Van Bibber, Irene Alexiou, Zach Cox, Bo Bradley, Breanna Remington, Willow Heidebrink, C.R. Gates and Joseph Christensen leading a massive cast of peasants, orphans and fantasy critters.
Tickets: $10 for adults, $8 for Over 60 & Under 12, 6 & Under Free. Tickets are available at the door.
KCOW morning show host Jason Wentworth interviewed director Guasman recently; you can hear that audio below.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for kids under 12 & seniors 60+.