Monday, January 23, 2012

Review of The Whiskey Rebellion's Tennyson Spade at Rhinofest 2012

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Tennyson Spade.  A Tennyson Spade is a special lantern that can take you to the Underworld.  I didn't know why they called it a Tennyson Spade, because it is a lantern, but now I kind of think it is because you are kind of digging underground when you use the Tennyson Spade.

The story is about an eleven-year-old girl by the name of Annalee (Tamara Silverleaf) whose little sister had died and she wants to find her sister again.  Her name reminds me of Annabel Lee from Edgar Allen Poe's poems.  I think they named her Annalee because lots of Edgar Allen Poe's poems are about women dying. She looked like she was eleven because she seemed older than me but they talked about having a picnic with their mom and dad.  She meets this man who is really obsessed with tea, and he has never had tea since he was alive because he died in a mine.   And his name is Simon (Cooper Forsman).  The tea is like magical tea because it kind of makes people feel better and stuff.  If you are lonely, the heat is isn't there for you, but if you feel happy like the family in the window that Simon sees, you can get tea. His goal is to see his mother again.  He kind of wants to go and he is kind of resistant to going because he thinks his mother is dead.

The playwright, Jessica Wright Buha,  and Aileen McGroddy, the director, decided to use creepy singing to tell the story.  It made it scarier because it was sung so quietly and sung in a zombie way.  They are not exactly zombies, they are more ghosts, ghost zombies.  The moved around quietly and slowly.  They spoke like the spaciest people in the world.  There were four zombie-ghosts/Lonely Ones: Courtney Kearney, Ellenor Riley-Condit, Monica Thomas, and Lauren C. Virnoche.  They show us what people feel like when they are all alone.

They had sand that they would use and like put it all over the ground.  And then the Lonely Ones and Simon would all try to remember things about where they used to live.  The sand was helping them remember things they could not remember.  The teapot was where the sand came from to help remember the mine.  Maybe it is a magical teapot to help remember things.  They didn't use flower petals or rice because they were underground and there was nothing to eat and nothing grew because it was so cold.  It was like always winter.

It made you think of bad things about death because, if one of your relatives or friends dies, they can never come back.  That makes you feel sad and lonely.  If I had a Tennyson Spade, I would go and find people I knew that had died and see what has happened.  I would want to find them, but I would be scared to go and find them because I would not want them to not recognize me.  Annalee chooses to go and find her sister because she misses her too much to even care if she doesn't recognize her.

The show was kind of confusing for me, because I am only seven.  But I think people that have dead relatives will understand this better. It was good because it had a happy ending.  The beginning was kind of sad, but at the end you felt happy because the warmth had come back.  I think this show should be for ages nine and up.  I can see it because I am a very brave seven-year-old. People that like ghosts, tea, and adventures would like this show.

Photos: Jack Mayer

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