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South Jordan Journal

South Jordan residents experience 'Once Upon a Mattress' 

Nov 08, 2021 03:20PM ● By Rachel Aubrey

King Sexitmus the Silent King played by Jake Hendrixsen, and Lady Larken played by Chloe Warnas (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Warnas).

By Rachel Aubrey | [email protected]

After taking a year off due to Covid-19, the show must go on. The South Jordan Arts Council sponsored the retelling of the story of the “Princess and the Pea” in “Once Upon a Mattress” this fall. The production began the weekend of Oct. 7-9 with showings at 7 p.m., and ran again the weekend of Oct. 14-16. There was a matinee showing at 2 p.m. on Oct. 9 and Oct. 16 and the tickets were sold for $8. The production was shown at the senior citizen community center in South Jordan.

After seeing the success of the production of "The Sound of Music" in the spring of 2019, selling out every night and adding two shows, South Jordan Arts Council member Heather Smith felt strongly about having another production for residents.

“South Jordan really wants performing arts,” Smith said. “We’ve got a great community that really does look for opportunities, family friendly opportunities, to be able to support each other and their community.”

“Once Upon a Mattress” is based on the fairy tale “Princess and the Pea.” The production follows the story of Princess Winnifred who is set to marry Prince Dauntless the Drab. But only if she can pass a “princess test” set forth by the prince’s mother, Queen Aggravain, to be sure she is a true princess of royal blood. The queen, in an effort to thwart her son from marrying, insists that if the princess can’t fall asleep atop a stack of mattresses with a pea strategically placed underneath, she will be suitable to marry the prince. 

In her manipulative way, the queen orders that a royal ball take place, one of many efforts to make the princess so exhausted that she will fall asleep despite the pea, and thereby be unworthy to marry the prince. All the while, the royal subjects eagerly await the prince's  marriage, for they are all not able to wed until the prince does.

Lehi resident Meg Flinders was cast in the role of Princess Winnifred. Having some experience with the story line from her involvement with the same show in high school, Flinders, a graduate from Brigham Young University with a bachelors in fine arts, admitted that she always wanted the opportunity to play the princess.

“I really love the idea of putting myself in someone else’s shoes for a while and trying to understand and empathize with a character,” Flinders said.

Alongside Flinders, Daybreak resident and cast mate Jake Hendrixsen portrayed King Sextimus the Silent King, who is struck dumb by a witch’s curse and unable to speak again until “the mouse devours the hawk.”  The king is a mischievous fellow, and even a little irreverent. After participating in the performance of  "The Sound of Music" as Captain Von Trapp, Hendrixsen said that performing once again clicked for him. 

Despite his character being silent throughout most of the show, Hendrixsen spent three hours a day, five days a week rehearsing with the cast for “Once Upon a Mattress.” He said that the opportunity to represent his town was an honor.

“It’s a matter of civic pride for me,” Hendrixsen said. “There really has been a sense of 'this is my town, this is my city, this is my home,' and there is an excitement about representing the place where I live.”

This production also gave the future generation a chance to shine. Bingham High sophomore Chloe Warnas, who also participated in "The Sound of Music" production, portrayed Lady Larken in “Once Upon a Mattress.” Lady Larken is enamored by Sir Harry, played by Matthew Larson. Chloe’s mom Jennifer said that the 15-year-old was thrilled about another chance to be a part of the arts.

“Chloe has been able to showcase her talents,” Warnas said. “I hope this program continues to grow.”

The director for "Once Upon a Mattress" was Shawn Kidd. A full-time choir and theater teacher at South Jordan Middle School by day, Kidd volunteered his time to make the production come to life. He noted that one of the many themes for the production was that of choices and consequences. In his note to the audience, Kidd said that one of the takeaways from the show was that of overcoming obstacles.

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