October 24, 2021

Fairytales come to life in Preble

Theater groups present ‘Stories in the Park’ at Dwyer Memorial Park

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Greg Moller as Geppetto and his son Calvan Moller as Pinocchio greet guests Thursday during “Stories in the Park” at Dwyer Memorial Park in Preble. The event, which continues today, offers the audience the chance to meet storybook characters without leaving their cars.

Pinocchio danced on strings pulled by his father, Geppetto. Dr. Dolittle talked to the animals and the audience for a few brief hours Thursday, the coronavirus disappeared and a fantasy world emerged at Dwyer Memorial Park in Preble.

“Stories in the Park” drew guests to drive a loop around the park to see characters and backdrops and interact with a new world.

The production — hosted by the Cortland Repertory Theatre in conjunction with SUNY Cortland’s musical theatre department, the Cortland Youth Bureau and the Cortland Performing Arts Institute — was a way to keep theater alive during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Ingrid Fox, a member of the theater.

Fox, as Mother Goose — a role that seems vaguely ironic — greeted guests next to Rob Lescarbeau as the Wizard of Oz.

“This is showing art has a vital place in society,” Lescarbeau said, noting that art doesn’t get stopped just because of the conditions COVID-19 has created.

The event continues today with two time slots: 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

No tickets need to be purchased, although a $5 donation is suggested upon entry to the park.