The stories are similar, and they are related to Hans Christian Andersen’s original tale, but all three are very different. The similarities: a young mermaid who longs for the sandy shore and the prince she meets there.
In the Pied Piper version, it’s little mermaid Flora who gives up her voice for the chance to see the surface. She needs a prince to kiss her hand to get her voice back.
“She doesn’t want to do all of that mushy stuff – she’s only 16, after all,” said director Dianne Ludt.
Flora goes for the dreams with the help of her friends, family and pets – ranging from angelfish to her fellow mermaid sisters – and she must escape the clutches of the evil sea witch, Sabrina.
As Flora struggles to communicate on land, her friend Fauna acts as her interpreter. Best friends Anna Claire Lyle, 13, and Anna Scott McKinion, 12, share the roles of Flora and Fauna between “The Little Mermaid”’s six performances.
“I’m miming everything as she’s talking,” McKinion said about her role as Flora. “And then I’m trying to express what she’s miming.”
Because the girls share the roles, they can play off each other well.
“We learned both roles, so I have an idea of what to do when she starts talking,” Lyle said.
Meanwhile, it’s Molly Ray’s job to stir up trouble – on stage, that is. She and Mackenzie Barnes star as Sabrina.
“I’ve never been the villain before,” Ray, 13, said. “I like being in the villain’s lair, where I try to get (Flora) to take the potion.”
The Pied Piper production is full of sparkly, colorful costumes and plenty of singing and dancing for everyone below the waves and on the shore. There are plenty of laughs for adults, with a character named Ethel MerMan and a nod to Katrina and the Waves.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Ludt said.
Under the Sea
WHAT: Pied Piper presents “The Little Mermaid”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Milam auditorium, Tupelo
COST: $5/adults, $3/students
INFO: (662) 842-9031, (662) 678-6455, piedpiperplayhouse.net