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The Snow Queen

 
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Anthony De Luca
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 9:01 pm    Post subject: The Snow Queen Reply with quote

Cast

The Snow Queen – Merethyl Cytria
Kay, an orphan boy – Doran Ilnaren/James Willis
Gerda, a young girl – Mairead Harker/Josette Marie Wheeler
Gerda’s Grandmother/Old Gypsy Woman – Melissa Burlington
Gypsy Girl – Katy Lonergan
Gypsy Boy – Darren Shaw
Two Roses – Serena Smythe/Julianne Dodd
Prince - Anthony De Luca
Princess - Anastasia De Luca
Sprites – Students from Black Cat Dance Studio
The Reindeer – Christian Benoit
Snowflakes - Students from the Shanachie STARS Program

((It should be noted that Doran and Maggie will be playing the roles of Kay and Gerda as children, until they are transformed into dancers.))


Last edited by Anthony De Luca on Sat Oct 24, 2015 9:26 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Anthony De Luca
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Synopsis

The Snow Queen’s sprites are creating a magic mirror out of ice, but when it is unveiled she sees not her own reflection but that of two friends, Kay and Gerda, in love in a summer landscape rather than the Snow Queen’s permafrost. The Snow Queen appears before the boy Kay who is mesmerized by her beauty. An icicle pierces his heart and eye and he collapses. Becoming lost to his friends, Kay is captured by the Snow Queen and her followers and disappears into the frozen night sky. Not knowing what has happened to him, Gerda has a dream about roses that tells her Kay is still alive. Eventually, Gerda goes in search of Kay with a friendly reindeer as companion and arrives at the Snow Queen’s palace where Kay is frozen behind the Snow Queen’s mirror. If he can solve the puzzle, he will be freed. Gerda’s actions ultimately unfreeze the mirror and Kay is liberated.

((This one was particularly tricky to cast. I hope everyone is happy with the parts they were given. Feel free to add your own posts to this thread, either as performers or theater goers. And, as always, remember to have fun with it! Smile ))
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Josette Wheeler
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once Upon an Opening Night...

"But now the looking-glass caused more unhappiness than ever, for some of the fragments were not so large as a grain of sand, and they flew about the world into every country. When one of these in atoms flew into a person's eye, it stuck there unknown to him, and from that moment, he saw everything through a distorted medium, or could only see only the worst side of what he looked at, for even the smallest fragment retained the same power which had belonged to the whole mirror. Some few persons even got a fragment of the looking glass in their hearts, and this was very terribly, for their hearts became cold like a lump of ice. A few of the pieces were so large that they could be used as window-panes; it would have been a sad thing to look at our friends through them. Other pieces were made into spectacles; this was dreadful for those who wore them, for they could see nothing either rightly or justly."

What was it about mirrors in fairy tales?

"My brother has gone blind." Josette murmured softly to her own reflection in the mirror in the quiet of her dressing room, after the call of half hour before curtain.

Transformed into Gerda with flowers and ribbon woven artfully in her hair, her costume that of a lovely peasant girl, she clasped her hands together and began her breathing exercises which became a common ritual once upon a time in Paris.

Isaac had not spoken to Josette in weeks after their explosive argument when she finally told him she would be starting rehearsals for the ballet and the ticket she left for him at the box office went unclaimed as far as she knew when she last checked for perhaps the fifth time before she had to begin warming up.

For Josette's return to the stage, she could not have imagined that the role would strike so eerily close to home. Fingers ran lovingly over the pages of the well-worn book of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales on her dressing room table. The story of The Snow Queen marked in certain passages that she had read over and over.

"In one of these large towns, lived two poor children who had a garden something larger and better than a few flower-pots. They were not brother and sister, but they loved each other almost as much as if they had been."

Though the ballet version was quite different in certain respects, there were all too many parallels and chords of the original story that struck home and resonated deep within her. She wondered how many others looked through a distorted mirror or lens and could no longer see the beauty around them or even their true selves. Isaac had changed so much since their childhood, that she feared he only saw the worst aspects of humanity and had lost all sense of his true self and his own gifts which he buried long ago. His fears about her illness and loss had manifested into an obsessive need to control and when Josette stood her ground when he told her she would not be staying with the ballet, the rift between them appeared to be almost irreparable.


"And then just as the clock in the church tower truck twelve, Kay said, 'Oh, something has struck my heart!" and soon after, 'There is something in my eye.' Poor Kay had received a small grain in his heart, which quickly turned to a lump of ice. "


When her head hit the pillow after those long rehearsals, Josette dreamt of roses. Some nights the velvet soft petals fell like so many snowflakes and touched her cheeks in an endless cascade of soft caresses. On other nights, there were galaxies of roses with interconnected vines like patterns of constellations that shone brilliantly in the darkness and whispered words of encouragement and hope to her.

But each night the end of the dream was the same with a maze of endless mirrors like the fun house at the carnival that distorted all of her perceptions, and blinded her to the way out. No matter how hard she fought to take command of the dream, it always got away from her and she was lost, endlessly looking for Isaac around every corner. Each time she thought she got close enough to touch his hand, all the mirrors would shatter and the fragments cut deep into her skin like a million tiny blades and she would wake in a cold sweat with a metallic taste in her mouth.

Despite the restless nights, she had worked so hard over the past few weeks and trained tirelessly with the ballet mistress, Irina, to get her to where she needed to be. Being new to the company and aware that they were taking a chance on her, she took nothing for granted and often stayed late to make sure she had captured the unique language of the choreography to convey the very essence of Gerda's emotion in each scene.

New dance partners could be tricky if not paired well, so Josette was so relieved to find that she felt extremely safe with Jamie who had been very supportive and a consummate professional. He proved to be such an extraordinary dance partner that challenged her in the best of ways to excel.

Josette's episodes gradually diminished over the course of a few weeks and the tremors were blessedly non-existent when she was dancing. The role of Gerda held a strength that infused itself into Josie's very cells and breathed new life into her over the past few weeks. She was the heroine of this story and refreshingly, was the one that did the rescuing in this tale instead of being the damsel needing to be saved.

At the call of five minutes over the intercom, Josette rose to go and watch the opening from backstage and do some final stretches. She very much enjoyed seeing Maggie and Doran perform as the young Gerda and Kay in the first Act, as well as Merethyl's other-wordly entrance as the Snow Queen which was an exquisite sight to witness. Anthony had done a spectacular job with the choreography and the orchestra was second to none, which all lent itself to visual and auditory delight for the audience.

Quiet murmurs of "Merde" (an amusing tradition in Paris for wishes of a successful performance) were spoken to her fellow dancers as she passed each of them backstage as well as countless coos and croons for Anya and Anthony's little daughter Sofia, who proved to be a delightful addition of pure joy in the Green Room.

The excitement was palpable as she passed through a veritable blizzard of excited Snowflakes from The Shanachie STARS Program in their lovely costumes that sparkled like millions of tiny icicles amidst lovely layers of tulle.

As the orchestra tuned their instruments, Josette drew in a deep breath and felt a familiar thrill along her spine as the music finally began. She was told by nearly every doctor and specialist in the earth realm that she would never dance again. Yet here she was about to take the stage again in Rhy'Din for the first time in years since the worst of her illness. She refused to let the diagnosis limit her, or let the shackles of the words of others, no matter how well meaning, keep her from what she loved any longer.

This was a new beginning for her in Rhy'din. Dancing was Josette's greatest joy in this life and without it, she knew she would wither like one of Gerda's beloved roses. She would be forever be grateful for this moment. Even though the seat she'd counted on being filled was probably empty out there in the audience, her heart swelled with gratitude as she murmured a quiet whisper of thanks to whatever powers that be in the cosmos that supported her that might be listening.

When it came time to step out on stage, Josette poured all of the emotion she held within into her dance and let it infuse every arch and extension of her body until the translation of Gerda's brave journey was as seamless in her delicate frame as it was in the unfolding on the pages of Anderson's Fairy Tale.

"But can you not give little Gerda something to help her conquer this power?"

"I can give her no greater power than she has already," said the woman; 'don't you see how strong that is? How men and animals are obliged to serve her, and how well she has got through the world, barefooted as she is. She cannot receive any power from me greater than she now has, which consists in her own purity and innocence of heart. If she cannot herself obtain access to the Snow Queen, and remove the glass fragments from little Kay, we can do nothing to help her."


(*Sections in bold are excerpts from Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen)
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Jamie Willis
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"To have come through so much and still be vulnerable ... beautiful."

Jamie glanced up from his contemplation of Josette Wheeler's Gerda on stage, unsurprised to find the transparency of Hortense, the Shanachie's Grey Lady, close by. He had never spoken with her, of course, but he had seen her - often on opening night, or after hours, when the theater was dark and quiet, offering advice to those who seemed troubled by some aspect of their performance.

It didn't surprise him that she was watching Josette with him. Some dancers would always carry that sense of terrifying fragility about them, no matter their strength or skill, and Josette seemed to be one of them. Though they had not spoken in detail, Jamie had the sense of some injury or illness in her past that had broken her dreams, only to have those dreams brought back to life by the Shanachie Theater. He had never experienced such a thing himself, and hoped he never would, but he could not help but wonder just what had happened.

There was a heartbreaking quality to the vulnerable moments when Josette danced, a sense of something final held just out of reach but always threatening, and he was glad to be her partner when such moments came. Kai might well be a bit of an idiot, in Jamie's opinion, but when the drama of the story came to its crashing crescendo, he came through, ready to catch his friend before she fell, to reassure her that she had won. Three years of tutelage under Anthony De Luca had given Jamie confidence in his ability to cavalier, strength in his hands and arms supported by his back. If Josette needed him to, he would take all the strain of those last moments - she would make them beautiful.

He smiled as he looked back to the stage, aware of the ghost at his side. "She's a ballerina," he murmured softly. "And she's in good company."
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Lirssa Sarengrave
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lirssa had done her level best to make sure the tickets were at the box office waiting for the unconventional group of theater goers. Unconventional only in the sense of how little she knew about them. Still, she was more than delighted to use her discount towards the purchase of five tickets.

That was when she realized the funds from the third place finish in the shipping race was at last depleted, and a sixth ticket for herself was not within her budget. But she had promised Josette she would go, and she wanted to see the ballet! That meant a special seat for herself.

So, as the Saturday matinee crept closer, noon hour passed and the one o'clock hour drawing closer. Lirssa checked at the box office one last time to be sure the tickets, all seated in one row (a feat for which she was rather proud of herself for managing), waited with their names. Of course, if they switched around to sit by whomever they chose, that was not her concern. Getting them into the ballet to enjoy the performance was.

Of course, there was also the additional treat of getting Ethan out of his usual routine. When he arrived, she guided him through the backstage and up to the seat in the theatre flies. A lighting tech made sure their chairs were safely set on the platform. From that vantage, Lirssa could watch the lovely performances from above, unbroken by distance.

Each performer spoke their parts through artful skill in dance. When Josette took to the stage, Lirssa smiled. She had only seen the young woman around the theatre a few times and met her briefly at Samhain where she unintentionally gotten the ballerina drunk. Still, there was no mistaking the grace and strength of Josette's performance.

From time to time, Lirssa would look to Ethan, just making sure he was enjoying his time. Or, at least, faking it. She would take that. There was no way to tell if the others enjoyed the event from where she sat. She would have to wait until after.

And she could. She sat back and let herself be swept into the beauty of the story told in motion.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the curtain drew for the final time and the dancers came out to take their bows, there rose a great and raucous cheer from the grand circle. The sounds of applause, shouts and whistles filtering down from the highest level of seats. The Crossroads Carnival had turned out in force to celebrate the realization of a dream for one of their own.

Josie had been kind enough to leave them a bank of tickets and they had leapt at the chance, even threatening mutiny when Benny balked at the idea of a night off. Occupying an entire row solely for themselves, the eclectic group of drifters and grifters had left their own place of performance to journey like a traveling group of gypsies to enjoy a show of another kind. While past performances might have been greeted with enthusiastic applause the members of the Midway made sure that Josie knew she was supported in their own "colorful"way that was unique to their nomadic way of life.

Mouse placed two fingers between his lips and whistled loud enough to be heard from the stage and then lifted a hand high in a wave for Josie when she appeared to look their way. Boz gave a surreptitious glance before dabbing at his eyes with a large blue bandanna, the giant of a man moved to tears by Josie’s performance. He raised the bandanna high and waived his hand back and forth before giving a warrior’s roar of approval while Andre stood alongside him, dreadlocks hanging down over an eclectic suit as red and plush as the carpet in the foyer, his large hands clapping while giving a shout of support in his native patois.

Lucille, lips painted in a candy red in her usual pinup style, split into a wide, revealing grin and gave a whistle to rival Mouse’s and clapped for her young friend. And on down the line to where even Benny clapped, grudgingly, for he was losing money by not operating tonight. That his staff, and he’d use that term loosely, had come to him as a group and told him they were taking the night had initially infuriated him but even he had to admit that the performance of the The Snow Queen was masterfully done and that Josie and her fellow dancers had been inspiring with their performances.

As the dancers departed their stage the group from the Midway made their way out of the theater to wait for Josie outside and share a smoke. Seemingly unaware, and certainly uncaring, of any looks that might come their way, the group congregated around the stage door to wait for the petite ballerina.

“Still can’t believe Isaac didn’t come.” Mouse said to Lucille, a tinge of anger mixing with disappointment as he knew how much it meant to Josie.

“He's stubborn. Fia is working on him." Lucille murmured with a distinct, disapproving cluck of her tongue against her teeth as she fussed with the huge bouquet of roses for Josie they all chipped in for. "Perhaps he’ll come to a later show." The snake charming pinup raised a slender shoulder in a half shrug. "You know how Isaac can be.” Lucille answered, doing better than Mouse at hiding her disappointment as she placed her cigarette between her lips.

"Great. That'll go well." Mouse lit up his cigarette before lighting Lucille's, careful not to set the roses aflame. "They'll argue and she'll set him on fire and we can be on the latest news story." Mouse said dryly as he tucked his lighter back in his pocket.

"We have a sayin in Jamaica...." Andre lit up his own special and legendary blend as he glanced at the stars and offered his own bit of wisdom.

"Of course you do." Mouse exhaled lazily into the night air with a glance around to the departing audience members.

"Alligator lay egg, but him nu fowl." The Jamaican nodded as if this explained everything.

Lucille looked at Mouse with a blink and an arch of an auburn brow as if she needed a translator.

"Yeah--I got nothing." Mouse chuckled out a bit of smoke before looking back to the Jamaican. "Translate your island Yoda speak for us simpletons, will ya?"

“Dem tings may not be da way dey seem.” Andre took a drag of his special blend and then exhaled to finish the rest of his thought. “Dis aint be da knife thrower’s nigh, him be coolin 'is heels back in da tents by his own choosin. But he may be comin to himself soon enough. Do nae be givin him no more never minds. Our Josie girl be needin to be celebratin and not worryin her pretty head on tings dat be causin' heaviness in her heart."

They all nodded in silent agreement to not bring up Isaac before Mouse piped up again because he couldn't help himself. "Yeah. Maybe Josie can explain to us why Boz is suddenly being a big crybaby tonight."
They all started laughing (save Boz)which brought a bit of levity to the moment.

“Shut your damn pie holes! I was not!” Boz blustered and reached over Andre to give Mouse a shove. “This place must be old…the dust. ” He explained lamely, eyeballing all of them with large fists clenched in innate defensiveness as if he'd murder all of them if they dare spoke of it again.

Boz had the look of warrior, but had a certain soft spot beneath that scarred and leathered exterior. Josie had seen this and often played her cello for him to soothe the savage Boz when he could not sleep from the flashbacks of wars past that plagued him. Bless her heart, she never told a soul.

"Dere be no shame' in it, Boz mon." Andre smiled at his friend, white teeth gleaming in the darkness. "Da best men don't stop dere eyes from rainin' when da spirit moves 'em. Me eyes be tearin'as well dere at da end."
Boz glowered at all of them before lumbering off to get the attention off of him, still muttering to himself that he wasn't crying.

Lucille watched Boz walk off before tossing her cigarette to the ground and putting it out with a turn of her black leather pump. "He's going to miss her something fierce, though he'd rather die than admit it."

"We all will." Mouse agreed. "She classed up the joint a bit though, eh?"

Lucille laughed and nodded. "You all certainly cursed a whole lot less around her. Heard Josie even made Dixie go silent which is a miracle in of itself. Told her not to gossip while spinning the cotton candy. Something about it affecting the taste?"

Andre rolled out a chuckle of smoke. "Dat be true. Beans be tellin' me da same ting. Josie be tellin da candy flosser dat da sugar crystals be absorbin da energy of da words and Dixie should no' be sayin anytin' but sweet tings while she be spinnin' da sugar. So da people don eat dem bad words wit dem bad vibes."

Mouse snorted. "That's like tellin Dixie not to breathe, but I admire her for tryin. She's special that one, you know? She never gives up on anyone."

The carnival crew waited outside the stage door, the group making small talk and rehashing the ballet, teasing and joking with one another like a large family. They chatted until Josie was ready to come out before the unique cast of characters would envelop her like Dorothy before she returned to Kansas from Oz.

They’d all come to the carnival for different reasons, had stayed for their reasons as well. But the common thread between all of them was a desire for something different--something more. Josie's presence at the carnival had touched all of their lives a unique way and they would all support her no matter what she chose to do.

Though the carnival family would be moving on soon they were all sad to be losing her, they all were so, so proud of their Josie for chasing her own dream to the fullest.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Brother's Redemption
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