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Hebron Playwright's Dragon Tale Comes to Local Stage

Oh, no! Spirited princess Leona has been kidnapped!
 
In his family musical “The Jester Prince,” Hebron’s Frederic Tacon sends the court jester, a cowardly thief, a clumsy page and the disguised king to her rescue. “Jester Prince” will be performed Aug. 1-9 by Beechmont Players at Anderson Center Theatre, with Brody McKinnon, also a Hebron resident, in the title role.
 
Tacon has been involved in local theater for more than 25 years, usually on stage, but as far back as he can remember he’s always had ideas for shows he wanted to write. And they’re always musicals in is first imagining.
 
“I have been living with this story since a playwriting class at the University of Tennessee in 1991,” Tacon says. “We were given an assignment to create a scene that put a character in a situation that was contrary to what most people would expect for the "kind" of character they were.
 
“Jesters are often seen as the comic relief or secondary character. I thought it would be fun to explore making a jester the hero of a story, and Lester was born. It took a short time to come up with the basic story, and the other fourteen years to actually finish it," Tacon said. In, 2005 an earlier version, “Lester the Jester,” was produced at Village Players in Fort Thomas.
 
Tacon likes writing for families. “Kids are a great audience. They get so into the stories, and everything is so magical to them. You get instant -- hopefully positive - feedback when you have kids in the room," he said. "If my show influences even just a couple kids to get involved or see more shows, that is very rewarding for me.” 
 
And he likes to write musicals for families because – he likes the “silly, bright, and clean storytelling that appeals to most kids.”

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Brody McKinnon as Lester the Jester, Emily Jencson as Princess Leona, and Karl Bolinger as Sir Rocco Wretched
Tacon answered three questions:
 
RCN: Who’s the evil villain?
 
Tacon: Sir Rocco Wretched is so evil that he just walks into the ball, takes the princess, and walks out, and no one except the jester even tries to stop him. Not much of a plot. He just wants the kingdom and has decided that he will marry the princess and take the kingdom by rights.
 
RCN: The Jester fights a dragon?
 
Tacon: The Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild has played a major role in this production by building a giant dragon puppet for us. (His name is Mittens.) It’s a three-person puppet and will tower above the cast and the audience when it appears from its lair. Mittens used to play a smaller role, but when I found out what an amazing puppet they were building for us, I expanded its character and its time on stage.
 
RCN: Is there a moral to the story?
 
Tacon: I didn't really write the show to have an overt moral. But I think that if there is a lesson to be learned, it is to be true to yourself and proud of who you are, and that everyone has worth. If you are a jester, that's awesome. And, you can be just as much a prince as those who have that title.
 
The Jester Prince, Aug. 1–9, 2014, Anderson Center Theatre, 7850 Five Mile Rd., Anderson Township. Tickets $12, children $9. 513-233-2468, available at www.beechmontplayers.org and at the box office.
 
Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN contributor
 
Photos provided
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