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‘The Snow Queen’: Toys in the attic

December 13, 2011
tags: ,

Published by Metro

Unlike prime time fairy-tale-with-a-twist hits “Once Upon A Time” and “Grimm,” American Repertory Theater’s newest play, “The Snow Queen,” is a throwback to simpler storytelling.

“We’ve designed the stage like an old Victorian attic where children come to hear this story every year,” says director Allegra Libonati. “There are sheets, mattresses, sticks and chairs — everything you’d use to build forts as a kid.”

The Hans Christian Andersen tale is about two best friends: Kai, who is kidnapped by an evil winter enchantress, and Gerda, the girl who embarks on an epic adventure to rescue him. There’s a castle and a princess, flying reindeer and a devilish goblin. Many of the characters are puppets, made with cardboard and papier-mache.

Libonati says that the show is meant to empower kids through their imagination. The plot, though, is an allegory of growing up.

“What’s amazing about fairy tales is that they really deal with the inner workings of personal development,” the director explains. “They’re deep with psychological issues.”

As a society, there’s no doubt that we’re drawn to the classic stories, represented on TV, the big screen and modern literature.

“Why right now?” Libonati muses. “When things start to crumble on the practical scale, we look inward. On a dream level, fairy tales help us through the different trials of life.”

Cold reality

The Snow Queen represents winter. Like the character, the season “can be exquisite and sparkling, but also dangerous and vengeful,” says Libonati.

Get there early!

Kids who arrive at the theater early can visit craft tables to make snowflakes and roses, which they can use later to help Gerda defeat the wicked Snow Queen.

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