Wednesday, March 2, 2016

First Look Review: THE SNOW

by Regan Carter

Regan Carter
We Wisconsinites are familiar with snow.  We’ve been through flurries, storms, and “Snowmageddon.”  However, nothing we’ve experienced could compare to what the characters in First Stage’s The Snow lived through.
               
When the town of Kishka is blanketed with snow, causing hunger and, in turn, anger, the townspeople decide that something must definitely be done.  A committee is set up, along with subcommittees and chairs of boards, but nothing is actually accomplished.  That is, until one very small, very scared, very clever boy named Theodore (Zach Duckler) proposes a plan to catapult him and some brave souls over the storm, so as to find the source of the snow.  Several strong and fearless characters volunteer their help, but the only survivors of the actual catapulting are Theodore and a mute gentle giant named Oliver (Tim Linn).  Together, they set out to discover the reason behind the incessant snow, traveling through a violent forest, across a large canyon, and through deep, indescribable darkness.  On the way, they discover that children can have incredible wisdom and that average, everyday people can do extraordinary things.
               
The story of The Snow, written by Finegan Kruckemeyer and directed by Jeff Frank, makes you feel as excited as little kid at story time, listening to this exciting tale.  I had the pleasure of watching the Brave cast’s performance, and I absolutely loved it.  Duckler was the perfect example of a curious, intuitive child, and Linn was a delight to observe as the strong yet silent Oliver.  Other notable performers included Matt Daniels, as Rajev of the Grey Beards and an easily offendable bird, Karen Estrada, as Margot the Assassin, and Andrew Crowe, as Connor the Calm, who holds a very misleading title.

The scenic design, made by Sarah Hunt-Frank, creatively uses different tools such as tree stumps and rope to create a variety of different environments, including the woods and a canyon.  Platforms strategically placed on the corners of the stage allow for performers including Melisa Erman and Daniels himself to play live music, raising the stakes and creating raw emotion in multiple scenes.  The puppets, created by Brandon Kirkham, are brilliantly designed and extremely entertaining, seeming to come alive onstage.  Costuming, done by Kim Instenes, is authentic and realistic, convincing audiences they really are in Kishka and the surrounding area.

Overall, The Snow is a charming piece, reminding viewers of their own uniqueness and individual talents, and that the quietest people can have the most to tell.  Recommended for children in middle school and older, families can enjoy the adventures of Theodore and Oliver, as they interact with many different characters and learn more about themselves, each other, and their village.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching this story unfold, and encourage everyone to experience Kruckemeyer’s story for themselves.

THE SNOW continues through March 20, 2016. CLICK HERE for tickets and information.

Regan, a long-time First Stage Academy student, has enjoyed acting and writing since she was little. She has been in several First Stage productions, including Spookley the Square Pumpkin and Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.

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