There is no one in Canberra more Rapunzelesque than Nicolette Suttor. The National Library cataloguer has a spectacularly long mane of hair.
And so it was no wonder that she played the title role in Wednesday's outdoor, pop-up production, in a lawny glade in front of the National Library, of the Grimms' fairy tale Rapunzel.
The Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, were there with us in spirit. But you could tell (for I kept an eye on the ghostly duo where they stood looking on from the shade of a tree) that the two earnest Germans were perplexed.
For where their Rapunzel is, like so many of their stories, full of nightmares and horrors, writer-director Sonja Barfoed's pop-up version is a chortle a minute.
What's more it has a feminist finale that left the German boys baffled (for there was no feminism in their mid-19th-century Germany). In this Library Tribe's production (in which all the goodies "lived happily for the forseeable future") Rapunzel becomes the ruler of the ACT, a kind of magic-maned Chief Minister.
In the Grimms' grim version (there is vile imprisonment, despair, a blinding) Rapunzel's hair is so very long that a Wicked Witch and a Charming Prince are able to climb up it to reach her in her prison atop a tall tower.
That feat of hair-growing is too hard an act for Nicolette Suttor or any mortal woman to follow, but Suttor's hair does dangle down to her knees.
But not for much longer; for in a month's time she is to have her head denuded as part of the World's Greatest Shave, the Leukaemia Council's campaign to raise money for research into fighting cancers of the blood. Wednesday's one-off Rapunzel was performed in support of Suttor's sustained fund-raising for the Greatest Shave cause.
The ingenious adaptation by the Library's Sonja Barfoed, a librarian, sets the saga in a kind of surreal, but still recognisable Canberra.
The drama opens with an undergraduate witch (played by Michelle Bond) in her unhappy vegetable garden. A mystery plague has killed all of the rapunzel plants, Campanula rapunculus, magically vital to hair growth in humans and fur growth in animals. All Canberry hair and fur has stopped growing. "Shorn sheep shiver in the fields" and everyone who has just had a hair-do they regret is stuck with it. They face not so much a bad hair day as a bad hair lifetime.
Canberry languishes like this for years and the witch (a full witch now, having passed her exams) is powerless to do anything about it. Her "waves of magic" are erratic now but one of them alights upon a young woman, Rapunzel. As in the Grimm's version she is named, inexplicably, after the rapunzel plant that folklore credits with magical hair-growing properties.
Here the action breaks into a gallop. The villain of the piece, a corrupt and sinister bureaucrat (played by Joshua Bell) emerges. He has concocted a hair-growing potion he dreams will make him rich and it is him (the swine!) who is behind the death of everyone else's rapunzel plants. Fearful that Rapunzel will magically restore to everyone the ability to grow their own hair without needing the costly help of his concoction, he bundles her into the Canberry equivalent of a tower prison, "an abandoned multi-storey office tower".
The witch asks the Town Prince, an extreme narcissist eerily reminiscent of male members of the Abbott front bench (and played by Matthew Stuckings) to intervene.
He is such a narcissist he literally blows his own trumpet, blowing fanfares to announce his arrivals. He hates Canberra (Hiss!) and hates being Town Prince here (he even hates our wide open spaces, mountain vistas, and frequent fireworks displays) .
The production ends with a flurry of goodness triumphing over evil. The police take the villain away. The sweet witch, her half-rabbit companion Rabbit Boy, and Rapunzel, go into business and grow a superabundance of rapunzel plants and distribute the seed to all and so Canberry's true hairiness and true furriness is restored.
The principal goodies/business partners discover that Rapunzel's hair, growing so quickly, can be harvested every day to be made into desirable items of clothing. It can too be made into magical "hair mats" that magically soak up our lake's blue-green algae and leave the lake happier ever after.
Rapunzel loves Canberra, its wide open spaces and mountain vistas and all the things the Town Prince was too stupid to appreciate. What's more, coming to power in the forseeable future, she's going to see to it that all that is wonderful about Canberra is maintained.
The show ends with great rejoicing among cast and audience, save for the Grimm boys who on Wednesday melted away, shaking their heads, and muttering things like "Donner und blitzen."
Barfoed told us afterwards that it had all been a labour of love. It was not only a chance to assist Nicolette Suttor's wonderfully good cause but to write something in praise of, and optimistic about (now that Rapunzel is to run it as a green gynocracy), this lovely city.
"I'm a lifelong Canberran. I love it. I thought [planning the show] 'What's distinctive about Canberra?' and of course it's the way that the landscape embraces us. We have this fairytale landscape and just here it comes with a beautiful imposing building [gesturing at the nearby National Library], this castle. The National Library is a castle of books."
To find how you can help Nicolette Suttor's cause go to worldsgreatestshave.com.