FARMINGTON — The Farmington High School drama club is telling the familiar story of "The Princess and the Pea" with a twist.

The club will perform "Once Upon A Mattress" starting Thursday at Piedra Vista High School's Taurano-Chrisman Performing Arts Center in Farmington.

The play — which was based on a book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer — was chosen through a collaboration among Farmington High School music, drama and English teachers.

"It takes from all of the performing arts at FHS," said Laura Argotsinger, the orchestra director.

Tealisa Davis, a junior at the high school, is a member of the pit orchestra. Davis hopes to either become a professional violinist or a music teacher someday and she says she leapt at the chance to expand her experience with the violin.

Ashley Casey plays Queen Aggravain on April 3 during a rehearsal for the play "Once Upon a Mattress" at Piedra Vista High School.
Ashley Casey plays Queen Aggravain on April 3 during a rehearsal for the play "Once Upon a Mattress" at Piedra Vista High School. (Jon Austria / The Daily Times)

And it is the solos that get her adrenaline pumping, she said.

"You can actually hear your heart beating in your ear," Davis said.

However, she won't get a solo in the play. Instead, being a member of the pit orchestra presents other challenges.

Playing in a pit orchestra is different than a regular orchestra because the musicians have to listen to cues from the actors and the actors' singing.

"It's a challenge and that makes it even more fun," Davis said.

"Once Upon A Mattress" is a version of "The Princess and the Pea." It tells the story of Prince Dauntless and Princess Winifred.

"If he doesn't get married, no one in the kingdom can get married," theater director, Steven Clark, said.

However, while Prince Dauntless wants to get married, his mother does everything she can to prevent that from happening.

Ashley Casey, a junior, plays Queen Aggravain.

"I have to be a totally different person than I actually am," Casey said.

Sophomore Samuel Randall plays the mute king, Sextimus. Randall does the entire play in pantomime, which he said can be difficult because he has to remember the lines and perform his actions before the actors interpret those actions for the audience.

The cast of "Once Upon a Mattress" rehearse a dance scene on April 3 at Piedra Vista High School in Farmington.
The cast of "Once Upon a Mattress" rehearse a dance scene on April 3 at Piedra Vista High School in Farmington. (Jon Austria / The Daily Times)

Senior Hannah Parkes made many of the costumes for the play. She said she initially just wanted to do her own, but she ended up doing many more.

"We had a really old sewing machine that didn't work really well," Parkes said. Despite that, she finished all of the costumes, including her own.

Parkes also has one of the lead roles in the play. She plays Lady Larken, who, along with Sir Harry — played by senior Jonathan Tankersley, have the troubled romance.

She said Lady Larken is exactly like her so she doesn't have to think a lot about what she's going to do.

"I call her my spirit character," Parkes said.

IF YOU GO

What: Once Upon a Mattress

When: 7 p.m. today through Saturday

Where: Taurano-Chrisman Performing Arts Center

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.