Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Other Theatrical Snow Queen Productions (Pt 2): Bonstelle & the ART (American Repertory Theater)

Continuing the recent-and-varied theatrical takes on HCA's Snow Queen round-up, a show that transforms on stage and includes the audience in the telling. Bonstelle Theater's The Snow Queen is an ambitious production with a lot of element to juggle (and a perfect production for serious theater majors to sink their teeth into).

Here are some interesting notes from the Guest Director, Allegra Libonati of The American Repertory Theater (which is where the production was first staged):
There are many elements of The Snow Queen that I found deeply compelling. I was drawn to the incredible landscapes where the story takes place. We travel from a tiny rose garden, all the way to the snow queen palace at the North Pole, surrounded by the Northern Lights. This captured my imagination. I was also really moved by Hans Christian Andersen’s life story. He was told by his mother, after his father died, that the Snow Queen had taken his father away. Later in his life, he created a story of two best friends who are separated by The Snow Queen. We watch as little Gerda, through her blind faith and deep devotion, is able to find Kai at the end of the earth, and save his life. I think there is a deep message in this show, embedded in a fantastical and spectacular world.
My vision for this production was inspired by the experience of listening to a story, and allowing it to transform the world around you. The show begins in a magical attic where a group of children have gathered to hear a story. As the story unfolds, beds become snow drifts, sheets become blizzards, a wagon becomes the boat. The world around you transforms into the locations and characters of the story. The audience is integral to the show.  When you arrive, you create a paper rose and a snow flake, and are asked to help Gerda along the way using these elements.
The production was staged by Bonstelle Theater (Wayne State University's Undergraduate Theater Company) in December 2012. There are tons more photos if you follow the links.
As a bonus, below are some images from the original ART (American Repertory Theater) performances which show great similarities but also great differences:
This professional production also called for audience participation and looks quite delightful.

Many more theatrical Snow Queen posts are lined up to explore some very unique productions, so keep checking back.

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