This week’s Grade 2 Class Play offered a tour de force in its interpretation of the classic tale The Emperor’s New Clothes— a story of conviction, insight, and action.
Set in Spain to honor the roots of the story, this topical parable presents the hard-working weavers, striving to create the most fashionable clothes they possibly can for their Emperors, along with the duplicitous Advisors, who spirit away the best of the clothes for themselves, passing on the rattiest, scratchiest, and smelliest items to the Emperors, and claiming them as fashionable. Circling the action like an investigative Fortinbras is a group of Teachers, committed to shining the light of truth upon all the shadowed lies of the kingdom.
Soon, the weavers begin to understand the manipulative nature of the Advisors, who— not content to merely keep the best clothes for themselves— also begin to withhold fair payment for the Weavers’ work, deluded into believing their own invulnerability by their unchallenged crimes, and all the while claiming themselves as the only ones with any true fashion sense.
With the help of the Teachers, the Weavers are able to concoct an elaborate sting operation, catching the Advisors in the act of pocketing the golden rings which were intended for the Emperors. Confronted at last with their own deceit, the Advisors confess their wrongs to the Emperors, as the Teachers enlighten the Emperors as to how countries all around the world use clothing and fashion to celebrate their unique cultures.
With the fraud of the Advisors laid out before them, along with the overworked and exploited Weavers, the Emperors come to a startling epiphany— it was they who were wrong all along, to demand the best clothes for themselves! Here at the play’s end, the Emperors come to realize that their own inherent avarice and unexamined preconceptions about the separation of the classes were the true, ultimate causes of the fashion conflict which had fallen upon and so corrupted their body politic. With joyful revelation, the Emperors order all of their fancy clothes donated to the local school, as the subjective determinations of materialism and the facades of self-importance are torn away forever!
Thanks as always to Ms. Sidoli for her exceptional directing and adaptation of this wonderful play. Thanks also to Sean Reardon and Jane Rothwell for their support in scenery and costumes, as well as to Maeve Lien and Valerie Snow for their work with the music. And, of course, thank you to all of the second grade parents and teachers for encouraging and supporting our performers in this Grade 2 class play. Congratulations, Grade 2 actors, for a wonderful performance!