“Once upon a time there stood an enchanted library. Within its walls, stories would come to life. Each year, the children of the land would invite characters from their best-loved tales to a celebration filled with music and merriment.”
So begins the program from the 17th annual Ogre Awards, the lower school’s beloved production, dedicated to the characters of 21 classic folk and fairy tales, as well as the storytellers who created them.
Starring all of the grade 2 students (otherwise known as the Ogre Academy), the show was proudly presented last month by the library department. It was originally created by former library director Enid Davis, who participated in this one as well.
Held in the “Kingdom of The Harker School” (aka the school’s gym) the Ogre Awards led off with a disgruntled witch who, throughout the event, mixed up the acts in revenge for not being invited to the show.
The student performers portrayed characters and creatures from the folklore of cultures worldwide (including tricksters, witches, magical objects, enchanted princes, heroines, wolves and fools), which they had learned about throughout the school year.
Folk stories and fairy tales featured in this year’s award ceremony came from such well known, endearing stories as Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, The Princess and the Pig, Lazy Jack and The Water of Life.
According to Sue Smith, Harker’s current library director, the Ogre Awards show was extremely fortunate to have had Danny Dunn, lower school technical director, take over as the new director following Davis’ retirement last year after nearly two decades of service.
“She (Dunn) had some very big shoes to fill,” said Smith, noting that as her parting gift to the award show, Davis left behind a fully-written script for this year’s ceremony. “That allowed Mrs. Dunn to focus on the technical aspects of the show, including adding her many creative talents.”
All but one of the Ogre Awards are bestowed upon fairy tale characters, with a special honor going to a real person. This year that special someone was none other than Davis, who was thrilled to return to the Ogre Award stage as a guest and recipient of the 2013 Special Ogre award.
“We give this award each year to someone who provides exceptional service or support to the Harker libraries. I can’t think of anyone who fits that bill better than Mrs. Davis. As creator and director of the show for 16 years, she has written scripts and song parodies, made sets and props by hand, designed costumes, and rehearsed the children in library classes in the weeks leading up to the performance. It is pure joy for her to see the children experience the magic of theater in the shows she has written,” enthused Smith.
Smith further noted that the Ogre Awards are the culmination of the second grade library curriculum, which Davis also developed. “I loved Mrs. Davis’ acceptance speech – she said that being given the Special Ogre award meant so much .… After giving the award to others for so many years, it came back to her!”
Adding to the festive event was a special guest appearance by Brian Larsen, Harker’s production manager, appearing as the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. Towards the end of the show, the much anticipated Best Folk or Fairy Tale award went to the book “The Water of Life.”
Ensuring the Ogre Awards ran smoothly was a dedicated team both on hand and behind the scenes, comprising volunteer faculty and parents helping out with technical direction, music, costumes, videography and choreography.
All that hard work paid off, as this year’s show went off without a hitch, much to the delight of parents and other members of the audience, who gave the students rousing applause as the performance came to a close.