Bec Applebee

The Ugly Sisters

A fun filled, family friendly, physical theatre show that takes a humorous satirical look at our modern social media driven obsession with ‘perfect’ beauty.

Ella is a farmer’s daughter. She loves the farm and has never worried about whether her welly boots are in fashion or not. So it is a complete shock when her Father introduces her to her two new step sisters.

These girls are beautiful? They are primped, plumped and plucked. They know every beauty trick in the book and they know what’s what. Ella is definitely not it.

The show:

Ella is a farmer’s daughter. She is used to mucking out and getting on with the demanding practical tasks that need to be done in order to help keep her Dad’s farm running. Her father has found it hard since the death of his wife to keep things on track and relies on his lovely daughter to help out. Cinderella understands nature, she’s practical and loves the farm. She is happy to be outside whatever the weather. She is very happy with herself and has certainly never worried about whether her welly boots are in fashion or not. So it is a complete shock to the system when her Dad introduces her to her new step sisters.

The Girls (Grace and Charity) that arrive at the farm are very street wise, beautiful? And fashion conscious. They know everything that there is to know about “who’s in” and “who’s out”, “what’s in” and “what’s out”. They are primped, plumped, plucked, squeezed, ironed and faked, filed, dyed and filled. They know every beauty trick from every magazine. In fact they are hard to recognise. They know what’s what and Ella is definitely not it….The “Girls” have a very unrealistic and romantic notion of country life which includes perpetual sunshine and lavish country houses with indoor swimming pools.  “You mean eggs are laid by chickens!” They would not be seen dead in a pair of wellies ….or would they.

Although the “Girls” seem confident on the outside they are in fact riddled with insecurities about themselves and how they look which is magnified by everything they read and watch. They may in fact have something to learn from their very out of fashion, Ella who actually really quite likes wearing welly boots and overalls and who doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty or that her hair blows wild in the wind.

What will they do when they receive the invitation to Justin’s weekend celebrations (local heartthrob)?

The Ugly Sisters project consisted of a family friendly, humorous physical theatre show with optional complimentary workshops using the three sisters from Cinderella at the centre of the piece.

Cast and Crew

The show was a high quality, professionally devised theatre production co directed by Bec Applebee and Simon Harvey using original text Callum Mitchel and with music by Seamas Carey both from Silly boys Theatre. It is physical performance with dance choreographed by Helen Tiplady formally of  Cscape. It staring some of Cornwall’s most well-loved practitioners. The show will be touring with 3 performers Bec Applebee, Mary Woodvine and Jenny Beare and a technician Martin Fenton.

The show was designed to be performed in studio theatres, community venues, primary and secondary schools (with the possibility of inviting primary schools to their feeder secondary school.)

Each participating venue will be offered an age appropriate workshop that have been devised with teachers and pupils from Nancledra primary school and St Ives secondary school. The workshops will look at some of the issues inherent within the show. In particular playing with the notion of an institutionalized acceptance of body dysmorphia. We will question differing ideas around beauty using the “Ugly sisters” as a catalyst for a non-judgmental questioning of the status quo. As a practitioner and a parent I perceive that as children grow up and mature today, the pressure to conform to a specific unrealistic body image is far greater than it has been. It can appear that it is an impossible task for a young person to gain genuine self- confidence with a healthy sense of ‘self’ if your starting point (yourself) is by its very nature unaccepted, and that the accepted ‘photo shopped’ norm is unnatural. No curls, no body hair, no choice etc.

Is beauty all about what you look like? The characters of the Ugly sisters and Cinderella are a perfect vehicle to play with, self-image and self-confidence in a humorous, theatrical and accessible way in both the workshops and the show itself.