Visitors to Old Sturbridge Village each day are asked to suspend belief as they walk into the living history museum, which represents life in early New England, and mingle with costumed historians who look like they just stepped out of the past.
For the next two weekends beginning Aug. 12, they will be asked to further suspend belief at the popular Village, circa 1790 to 1840, as the museum turns into Fairy Tale Farm and welcomes such beloved characters as Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and others come to life from the world of make believe.
The twist is that these well-known fairy tale figures when popping up at OSV will be presented and speaking as if it is present day 2021.
“We try to take more liberties with our evening programs….engaging visitors in a different way than our daytime program which is a beautiful study of history….engaging them with something a little more lighthearted and fun,” said Rhys Simmons, director of interpretation at OSV, about the playful nature of Fairy Tale Farm alongside the more perfect interpretation of history.
Fairytale seekers will walk the Village to various buildings whose outdoor surroundings become the stage for each performance. Characters step out of their “homes” for the first time since the pandemic and are faced with real-world, grown-up issues:
- Pinocchio is a former child star coming to terms with his life as a “real boy” at the Cooper Shop.
- Recently awakened Sleeping Beauty (formerly sleeping) is a princess-turned-Instagram star at the Freeman Farm.
- Little Red’s once-devoured grandmother, Granny Lil, is back and feisty as ever at the Bixby House.
- Goldilocks (who is newly engaged to Baby Bear) is an ambitious young tech entrepreneur launching her new product at the Freeman Farmhouse.
- A third little pig named Vincent whose rational thinking has kept him alive at the Blacksmith Shop.
- Hansel, who’s determined to get in shape post-pandemic, and Gretel, who’d prefer to stay in quarantine at the Pottery Shop.
“Fairy Tale Farm is a brand-new production from P.J. Griffith, the same writer and creative director who brought to life Edgar Allan Poe through last October’s outdoor theatrical performance at the Village called ‘Nevermore – the Fantastic Terrors of Edgar Allan Poe.’ He is well-versed in immersive storytelling,” Simmon said.
“The character of Pinocchio is always a hit with kids and Alexander Demetrius is a fantastic actor who brings a lot of energy to his performance. He also plays Baby Bear in the Goldilocks skit which is extremely funny. And Jade Genga as Beauty really gets close to the audience and pulls them into her story,” he added.
Depending on the tale – ranging from 7-10 minutes in length – each performance will be performed 2-3 times each night.
“We want to make this as engaging as possible for visitors, especially for children, but also for adults. Our guests will not be passive observers. They can dance along with Pinocchio and exercise with Hansel, and they can ask questions at any time during their performance,” Simmons said.
Further bringing Fairy Tale Farm to life at Old Sturbridge Village will be the music of Worcester-based Gracie Day, whose mixture of rock and soul is “influenced by her parents’ music of the 60s and 70s” will help bring the “enchanted” Village to life.
Simmons noted the Village will also come alive in other ways, including complimentary horse-drawn wagon rides, craft activities, games on the Village Common, children’s stores and sing-alongs in the Town Garden. There will also be a bonfire on the Village Common and Bullard Tavern will be serving up themed food for the occasion.
Tickets for the outdoor event, which runs Thursday through Sunday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., are available at osv.org and are $20 for adults and $15 for youth.