Friday, October 23, 2015

Review of Black Button Eyes Production's Goblin Market

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Goblin Market. It was by Polly Pen and Peggy Harmon, adapted from the poem by Christina Rossetti. The music was by Polly Pen. It was directed by Ed Rutherford. The musical director was Jeff Bouthiette and the movement director was Derek Van Barham. It was about these two sisters named Lizzie (Jennifer T. Grubb) and Laura (Stephanie Stockstill). Laura found a goblin market and ate these fruits and became addicted to them. And when she came back she was turning all grey and all old because she had eaten the forbidden fruits. So Lizzie tends to her and is going to go back and get her the fruit. But things don't go exactly as planned. It is about sisterhood, protection, and enjoyment. This was a really really fun show with amazing singing and music. I really loved it. I loved learning more about the poem afterwards too; it is so much fun to research the poem and talk about what it was about.

The vibe was very cool and kind of creepy, like a Victorian girl's room should be. When you enter the theater, everything is covered in dolls and vines (set by Kailee Tomasic and props by Rachelle "Rocky" Kolecke). And there is one big bed and they seem like they live in a quaint little house without a mom or a dad. You expect it to be like a fairy tale, which it sort of is. It has a lot of the same ideas as a fairy tale. The set is also very creepy like a lot of fairy tales. I thought the goblin face masks (costumes by Beth Laske-Miller) were really cool and creepy. They were grey and when Laura started turning grey it was the exact same grey, so I thought she might be turning into a goblin, which was pretty cool. The live music adds to the entire vibe which was cool and creepy. They had a violin (Simeon Tsanev), cello (Alexander Ellsworth), piano (Bouthiette) and percussion (Cali Kasten). They even had sound effects like on a radio show, like they had wind noises which were pretty cool.

At the beginning of the show Laura and Lizzie were playing this memory game and they were reciting the list of all the different kind of fruits that were at the goblin market, which was super catchy and I still kind of remember some of the words. And it is all part of the poem, which is really cool. The descriptions of the fruit at this point were childish and fun. And each of them had a motion that went with it that were childish and fun too. Like they would give each other the raspberry whenever they said raspberries, which I thought was very adorable. The game brought the sisters closer together. Then when Laura actually gets to the goblin market it is not fun like she thought it would be like it was playing with her sister. It is fun because she gets to eat those delicious fruits, but it is not the same kind of fun that she has with her sister. This fun is more adult and it is more fun like in a sexy way. You could bring little kids to this play and say, "They are just eating fruit." But they are not actually just eating fruit, but like a 6-year-old's mind won't get that completely. I do think Christina Rossetti did mean it in a sexy way, because it wasn't aimed at children (and she clearly stated that), but she didn't want to talk about sex directly because that would have been shocking in the Victorian period.

After Laura visits the goblin market, she turns into this very lethargic person, and she is not her usual energetic self. But her sister is not mad at her. She just tends to her and tried to help her. Laura seems kind of in shock and I like how they make it open so you can decide what happened to her at the goblin market. It could be that she sees something she knows she shouldn't have, or that she is just so addicted to the fruit that she can't get enough of it, or it could just be that that is what happens when you eat the fruit--you become very lethargic. And at the very end there is another theory that I have. At the end, Lizzie tries to give Laura a very proper Victorian dress, but Laura doesn't take it. I think it is that she feels like she missed out on her childhood after the goblin market because they took her innocence and she wants to stay innocent forever to show the goblins that she can. I feel like this show was very feminist because there was a sister who helped her sister and didn't judge and tried to help her feel better again. She doesn't make her do anything she doesn't want to do, like put on the dress.

People who would like this show are people who like goblin fairy tales, feminism, and fruit. I think people should definitely definitely go see this show. It had so many good elements to it, like the singing and the acting and the story. I loved their production of Coraline last year and I hope to see more of their productions in the future.

Photos: Cole Simon

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