Many, if not all, locals of Bakersfield are familiar with Lake Ming, a recreational area in town for motorboats, water-skiing and family time during the warmer months. But there’s a good chance they haven’t heard the story about “The Mermaid of Ming Lake.”
The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre and Music Hall will tell the untold story till May 13.
This production explores the tale of two unlucky campers from Oildale who are trying to make a better life for themselves but find a secret that the lake has been hiding for years. They are thrown into a world of mermaids and lake witches, and the two will stop at nothing to convince the town that there is a magical mermaid living in it. However, no one believes them. Time is running out, and they need all the help they can get to hopefully save the mermaid before it’s too late.
“This is the biggest fish tale the Melodrama has ever told, and it’s sure to be one the whole family will enjoy” is the best description for the theatrical show.
So how did this show come about?
“The title was actually suggested to us by an audience member about four years ago. I was really intrigued by it, so I wrote it down and pinned it to my wall in front of my desk,” said Artistic Director Michael Prince. “When I was putting this season together last summer, I thought now would be a great time to tackle this show.”
Although he isn’t sure where the audience member came up with the idea, he was able to let her know they were running with her title idea.
“I didn’t talk to her about it; I just let my own imagination run wild. I did run into her around Christmastime and she identified herself as the one who came up with the idea,” Prince said. “She was beyond thrilled that we were doing it, so the pressure was on to make sure it exceeded it her expectations. We hope it does.”
Prince says that the audience can expect a “very fast-paced, very funny adventure” and added that it is different than shows they’ve done in the past.
“It’s a great mix of fantasy fairytale, with modern, local flare,” he said.
The Gaslight Melodrama opened in 2005 and is currently in its 13th season with six shows per season and two children’s theater productions.
“I think people keep coming back season after season because they see how much fun we’re having and that, in turn, allows them to have even more fun,” Prince said.