Madame Modjeska’s Wicked Fairytale

  • Madame Modjeska’s Wicked Fairytale (illustration drawing of a child and beast in the forest)

Madame Modjeska’s Wicked Fairytale

Written and directed by Annie Loui


Dec. 8-11, 2021

Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL)

Evening and matinee performances

CounterBalance Theater and Illuminations present Madame Modjeska’s Wicked Fairytale, a devised theater production.

A brother, sister and their dog explore the wild west of Orange County.

A tongue-in-cheek virtual Narrator comments on three performers constructing the world of Madame Modjeska’s Fairytale: a pleasant mountain land where two siblings encounter monsters, gigantic lizards and the Black Rock of Death (where children are taken when they have been bad).  After many adventures and advice from supernatural friends, the book ends on Christmas Eve.

Movement, music and dialogue are used to tell the tale written in 1896 by the famous Orange County resident, actress Helena Modjeska.  The original fairytale book (complete with Madame Modjeska’s watercolor illustrations) is part of the UCI Libraries Special Collections & Archives.

A little irreverent and very playful, the performance is a CounterBalance celebration of hybrid theater as we emerge from covid restrictions.   The first three minutes of the production are taken from the CounterBalance film Madame Modjeska’s Fairytale, shown at the Edinburgh Festival 2021.

Reviews for Madame Modjeska’s Fairytale

Madame Modjeska’s Fairytale is a beautiful and surreal piece of theatre, which puts a truly unique spin on storytelling. Giving life to a special and enchanting world, this captivating performance has a warm and magical feeling which leaves a gentle glow.” - North West End UK

“This is fantastic and has at its heart a simple story well told” - Fringe Review

“The physical theatre element that follows really lifts the mood, with some wonderfully light, articulate movement……. it’s certainly an imaginative take on history, with CounterBalance Theater achieving its aim of re-telling stories for a contemporary audience.” - Theater Weekly

Adapted from a Fairytale written by renowned Polish Shakespearean actress Helena Modjeska in 1890, with a contemporary twist.

Evenings: Dec. 8, 9, 10, 11 at 8 p.m.
Matinee: Dec.11 at 2 p.m.

Free with reservations at Eventbrite.

Live Event Disclaimer


Wednesday Dec 8, 2021, 8:00 pm
Thursday Dec 9, 2021, 8:00 pm
Friday Dec 10, 2021, 8:00 pm
Saturday Dec 11, 2021, 2:00 pm
Saturday Dec 11, 2021, 8:00 pm