The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

A Dual Critics Florida State College of Jacksonville Fine Arts Dept. Review

The Florida State College Department of Fine Arts presented John Glore’s comedy entitled “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” during November 2 – 5, 2017. It was staged at the Nathan H. Wilson Center, at 11901 Beach Boulevard.

The play was inspired by a children’s book of the same name by Jon Sciezka and Lane Smith which was published in 1992 and has acquired a wide and devoted audience.

This production was directed by Ken McCulough, who has been Professor of Theatre and head of FSCJ’s Theatre Performance Program at South Campus for the past twenty-four years. During this time, he has staged a vast and interesting variety of plays, with many designed to appeal to all ages. His production of “Stinky Cheese Man” reminded us of his previous staging of “James and the Giant Peach,” as both were designed for audiences of five years old and up.

We are all familiar with the classic fairy tales and this one-act play looks at many of our favorites in a twisted way. The hardest working actor in the show is Meenan Williams who appears as Jack (the famous beanstalk celebrity), who is the play’s narrator.  Note: The play had sixteen actors and thirty-six characters; we have limited credits for the actors to the first role listed in the program.

The Narrator is on stage constantly, introducing characters which include Chicken Licken (Shelby Crews), Cinderella (Mary Shubert), Stinky Cheese Man (Allen Melton), Ugly Duckling (Liz Gerhardt), Rumpelstiltskin (Kyland Fowler), and Foxy Loxy (Alexandra Christensen), to name a few.

Others included: Red Hen (Karlesa McBride), Surgeon General (David Reese), Ducky Lucky (Clarissa Fiegl), Goosy Loosey (Jason Rapoza), Cocky Locky (Cross Blocker), Queen (Aimee Masci), 1st Princess (Talise Zide), and Frog (Travis Wimes).

Newcomer Robert Rupp provided the Voice of the Giant, in what, as far as we know, was his first appearance in any production. For many years, he has been the Scene Shop Supervisor in the Theatre and Entertainment Technology Department at the Wilson Center.

In researching this play, we found that most other productions have run from forty to fifty minutes. FSCJ’s version ran for eighty minutes, which included hip hop dancing and “The Stinky Rap” with lyrics written by Cross Blocker and Jacob Seanor under the Musical Direction of Jay Deen.

The sets, designed by Johnny Pettigrew and created by students in the Drama Practicum and Technical Lab Class, were exceptional. The giant was impressive; he appeared at least forty feet tall, and had a mouth, arms, and legs manipulated by students.

The Costume Crew (Camala Pitts and Dorinda Quiles) did their usual superb costume magic, which resulted in colorful and inspired attire for the characters.

“The Stinky Cheese Man” had many very funny moments. And while some of the humor was a bit over the head of the smaller members of the audience, all seemed delighted with the giant balloon drop from the ceiling at the end of the performance.

Additional Production Team members included Candice Dickens (Stage Manager), Sierra Henry and Jenna Porter (Assistant Stage Managers), Bill Boothman (Sound Engineer), Tara Paige (Poster & Program Design), Marco Tacandong (Hip Hop Choreographer), and Shanise Desisso (Properties Supervisor).

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.