shotgun archival page
To return to main site, please close this window

A Fairy's Tail


By Adam Bock

"At the end of this disastrous day, after the shadows have gotten long and are long gone and the sun has fallen down and the street lamps begin blinking on and the burglars and night monsters are getting dressed for work, our heroes meet each other in the woods."

–Narrator, "A Fairy's Tail"

A child's music box is all that remains when a giant foot belonging to a giant Giant smushes a little girl's house with her family in it. Thus begins the first play in Shotgun Players' tenth anniversary season, a world premiere by acclaimed playwright Adam Bock. A Fairy's Tail is an adult play suitable for children who can stay awake past 8 PM. It is the story of a girl, Little Missy What's-Her-Face, and her odyssey of revenge and personal transformation. Other tragedies early in the first act provide the companions who accompany our hell-bent little hero on her journey to find and kill the offending Giant.

Little Missy What's-Her-Face (Beth Donohue), Mrs. Piffle (Trish Mulholland) and Norbert Longlegs (Brian Yates Sharber) set off on their journey, but any similarity to a conventional fairy tale soon vanishes. And in a nod to post-modernism, Little Missy What's-Her-Face begins to take over the telling of her own story, causing no end of grief for the Narrator (Ana Bayat). A pushy Princess, a myriad of puppets—including a herd of spry goats and a giant Squid— a Flamingo Singer, the capricious Wind, a School Teacher Fish, quicksand, flying knives and a world seriously out of kilter are some of the elements dreamed up by the playwright.

"This is the story of a tough little girl who is at the center of the action. She's the actor in the sense that she's the agency of the action," explains Bock. "It's a play about transformation and the freedom to tell your own story." There are dark moments and times when it is quiet and still, "but at other times there's a kinetic rhythm and the colors turn pink and orange and things sparkle and glisten."

A Fairy's Tail was written expressly for Shotgun Players and is the first play penned by a Shotgun Company Member. Artistic Director Dooley asked Bock to write an adventure play for both kids and adults, a play that combines elements of the real world, but a world that exists only at that brief and exquisite moment in childhood when all things seem possible. "A Fairy's Tail" has laughter, darkness, grief, rude noises, silliness, murder, revenge and love, all mixed up in a wild hullabaloo subject to the uncertain mechanics of the universe.

"What makes Adam's work so good and so strong is that he walks the fine line between the utterly ridiculous and the most deep and universal truths," says Dooley. "He softens you up with laughter and then hits you with a truth and you know everyone else in the audience feels it—that regret, that sorrow—and you walk out of the theatre feeling everyone made that connection."

Music and lyrics also were composed by a Shotgun Company Member, Clive Worsley, with arrangements and production by Kristin Miltner. Six new songs are performed to a recorded score. Is it a musical, or a play with music? You be the judge. Choreographer Andrea Weber has designed the movement and highly imaginative dance numbers. Pay particular attention to the luscious ballet in the Fart Swamp.

Like all mythic stories about heroes on journeys—okay, it is conventional in that sense—Little Missy What's-Her-Face is transformed as she comes to the end of her odyssey. With her music box, her new friends and her newfound identity—and you'd better call her by her right name from now on—our little hero lives happily ever after. Probably.

Adam Bock is an award winning playwright whose most recent success, the critically acclaimed Five Flights, an Encore Theatre production, just closed following an extended run at Thick House in San Francisco. Bock is familiar to Shotgun audiences for his smash hit, Swimming in the Shallows (1999), which won Bay Area Critics Circle Awards for Best New Play, Best Ensemble and Overall Production; it is headed for a London production.




Listen to a sample of the original music composed for Shotgun Players' production of A Fairy's Tail.

Fart Ballet in MP3 format

Directed by Patrick Dooley
Costume Design by Valera Coble
Scenic Design by Michael Frassinelli
Props & Puppets by Sylvia Dawkins
Lighting Design by Alex Lopez
Music Design by Kristin Miltner
Choreography by Andrea Weber
Music Composition & Lyrics by Clive Worsley
Stage Management by Marilyn Stanley
Assistant Direction by Joanie McBrien
Production Management by Liz Lisle

Narrator: Ana Bayat
Little Missy What's-Her-Face: Beth Donohue
Mrs. Piffle: Trish Mulholland
Norbert Long Legs: Ty Blair
Princess: Katie Frassinelli
Wind: Kimberly Wilday
Flamingo Singer: Kathleen Antonia
School Teacher Fish: Reid Davis
Ernie: Andy Alabran

Friday, March 15 at 8 PM

Saturday, March 16 at 8 PM (Press Night)

March 17, March 24 and March 31 at 5pm

March 21 and April 4 at 8pm (sorry, no show on March 28)

March 22, March 29, and April 5 at 8pm

March 16 (opening night) and March 30

  • Saturday March 23 at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts

Friday, April 5, 8 PM

Friday, April 5 at 8 pm

The Thrust Stage at Berkeley Rep
2025 Addison in Downtown Berkeley

Click here for a map.

Preview $10
Thursdays $10
Opening $25
General $18
Students, Seniors & TBA $12

For reservations, and further information, call 510.704.8210 or email us at



Review by Lisa Drostova for The East Bay Express
















home  |  the 2007 season  |  current show  |  news/awards  |  ashby stage  |  theatre lab
get directions  |  who we are  |  contact us  |  get involved  |  archives



1901 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94703