Monday, February 13, 2017

Review of Emerald City Theatre's The Snowy Day

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Snowy Day and Other Stories. It was written Ezra Jack Keats and adapted by Jerome Hairston. It was directed by Jacqueline Stone. It was about a little boy named Peter (Terry Bell) and he goes on a series of adventures in his neighborhood. When I was little I would read these books all the time. They were a huge part of my early childhood. I loved them because they convey a good story in a simple and relatable way with great details even though the story is simple. It was so amazing to see them on stage. I thought it was great how they mostly stuck to the story and didn't add in any characters. The movement (by Aileen McGroddy), costumes (by Branimira Ivanova), and set (by Martin Andrew) are all beautiful, and I loved the entire cast. I took a three-year-old friend of the family and also my 13-year-old friend and they both loved it, which I think shows the range this has to intrigue kids of all ages.

This show had a great aesthetic. From the moment you walked in, you could see all of the kids being mesmerized by the set. It looked a lot like geometrical building blocks. When they were covered in the snow it completely transformed the set. I noticed that they used things that would be familiar to younger kids, like the parachute that they used for the snow is a lot like parachutes that a lot of kids that age see in their school or classes. My younger friend really wanted to play on the set because it seemed like something that she recognized as a playground. (We now know you are not able to do that because we asked!) The costumes were almost exactly like the ones from the book. They even used some of the same patterns. It was amazing to see the clothes on stage that looked so much like the ones from the book. I think my favorite was probably Archie's (Felix Mayes) shirt which seemed exactly like the one in Goggles. Amy's (Kirra Silver) dress looked exactly like the one in the book; it seemed like they might have copied the pattern!

I loved how they didn't make the kids too fake-kiddie. They seemed very real. Like there was one moment when Peter was going to mail a letter to Amy inviting her to his birthday party and his mom (Sydney Charles) was putting on his raincoat and hat and he looked so mortified. You could tell he was thinking "Amy will never love me looking like this." And there was another moment in A Letter to Amy, where he was writing the letter and telling his mom about how he had to write the letter perfectly so "this way it's sorta special." And when you heard that you realized how this is basically his first crush and it is so important to him. And how he is throwing out all of these various drafts is so hilarious to see and then the outcome is just "Will you please come to my birthday party. Peter." with perfect punctuation! The mom's face when he finished reading the letter was so amazing; she just seemed to think it was adorable, which it was. And the character Archie was such a adorable nerd. He also kind of made it seem like Peter was one of his only friends at the time, which was sad but kind of cute. And Amy always seemed to want to talk to Peter, but Peter would chicken out, and the face that Amy would make--I have seen that face before on so many a seven-year-old kid.

I really liked the movement. I especially liked the puppets and how they were worked in with the movement. There was one time where Peter was making a snowman, and it looked sort of distorted, but that's because in the book The Snowy Day if you look at the snowman it looks like a lump with a creepy head on it, but still an awesome snowman. And when he made snow angels you could see the imprint of the point of his hood on the shadow, which I loved. It is also great to go back to the book after and see how many details they took from the book. Another thing I thought was adorable and exactly like a young child, was when Peter would slide down the slope he would want to go again and again and again. There was also cool movement involving people to make inanimate objects--like in Whistle for Willie they would use a few of the actors with a red, a yellow, and a green ball in their hands, and one of them had a orange glove on and they were pretending to be a traffic light. That was an amazing sequence and so awesome to watch.

People who would like this show are people who like kid love letters, people as traffic lights, and distorted snowmen. I think people should definitely take their kids to see this show. I think it is a great experience for kids of all ages and I really loved it.

Photos: Austin Oie

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