Sets are under construction, rehearsals are under way, programs are being printed, and the curtain will be going up on a new theater season soon at Garden City Community College.

Under leadership of Drama Director Phil Hoke, as a matter of fact, the first production of the year will take to the stage just eight days from now one week from Thursday night.

The first play of the year is entitled "The King Stag," and show goers who attend can count on a family-friendly comic fairy tale, with a unique twist or two that you could probably only find in Garden City.

Though actually written to be presented in an oriental or renaissance-era European setting, the version of the play that you'll see here at GCCC is going to be taking place in a distinctly Native American environment.

"The King Stag" was created by Carlo Gozzi, an 18th Century Italian playwright, and it involves elements of enchantment, romance, good and evil, as well as a little transfer of consciousness. It also includes, as every fairy tale should, a classic "Happily Ever After" ending.

The playwright, who lived from 1720 to 1806, worked primarily in the city of Venice and began to write comedies and satirical works after serving in the Italian military. "The King Stag" is one of many plays he crafted from well-known fairy tales of the time. Among a few of his other works were "The Crow," "The Elixir of Love," "The Serpent Woman," "The Green Bird" and "Zeim, King of Genies."

Magic and mayhem

GCCC will be presenting "The King Stag" with a cast of campus and community actors and actresses, and some of the characters will be wielding magical powers, vying for coveted affection and contributing to plenty of on-stage mayhem in the process all hallmarks of Gozzi's work.

The performances will be taking place in the auditorium of the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building, and are scheduled as follows:

* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 through 20

* 2:30 p.m. Oct. 21

* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 and 27, offering a second weekend for those not able to catch one of the earlier shows.

Ticket sales are already open at the Fine Arts office, and admission prices are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors age 65 and older, and $5 for children age 17 and younger.

Hours to get your tickets range from 7 to 11 a.m. and noon to 3:30 p.m. each Monday through Friday, as well as one hour before each show. While advance ticket sales are being conducted from the office of the fine arts center, sales will be open in the lobby box office just prior to the six performances.

"The King Stag," by the way, is just one of several stage presentations planned at GCCC this year. You also can count on a dinner theater early in the spring semester, as well as a serious drama later in the same term.

The dinner theater presentation will involve a play actually written by our own drama director, and it's called "Shotguns for Wedding Bells."

The drama that will conclude the season is "The Diary of Anne Frank," the true story of a young Jewish girl who hides from Nazi persecution with her family during the dark days of World War II.

You can call for ticket information on "The King Stag" at 276-9540, or just stop by the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building and purchase your admission. Either way, we're kicking off the 2012-13 GCCC theater season with a show that promises to be both funny and great for the whole family.