Friday, May 23, 2014

Review of The White Snake at Goodman Theater

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The White Snake. It was written and directed by Mary Zimmerman and it was based on a classic Chinese fable. It was about two magical snakes, a white snake (Amy Kim Waschke) and a green snake (Tanya Thai McBride) who decide to go into the human world. When they got there, the white snake turned into Lady Bai and the green snake turned into Greenie. The white snake fell in love with a pharmacist named Xu Xian (Jon Norman Schneider). But her problem is she is a magical snake, like a good demon, but she is in love with a human. But they get married and then a little later a monk named Fa Hai (Matt DeCaro) tells the pharmacist that his wife is a demon. Problems arise! I think that this is a very good show. The puppets and costumes are awesome and the acting is also great. The special effects and lighting were exciting.

I thought that the look of the play was captivating. I liked the set pieces (by Daniel Ostling). I thought that it was really cool how they had these drawers which opened up into a big door which was their bedroom. There were different sizes of the chest of drawers which had different medicines in them for their medicine shop which Lady Bai and her husband owned. When it started raining, these long silks came down from the top of the theater and made it look like it was raining. I also really liked the projections (by Shawn Sagady). One of my favorites was when the monk house was being flooded and then there were crabs and fish swimming through the water behind. I also really liked the lanterns and how many different kinds there were and how many different colors. It kind of made an effect of a moon. I liked how the parasols made the white snake but it had a little red tie at the end for a tongue. They also used parasols as parasols and they also used parasols to represent a house; they represented the pagoda and the white snake's house that way.

I thought the costumes (Mara Blumenfeld) and the puppets were awesome. I loved the big snake puppet that came out of the bed. I also really liked the little snake puppets, the white snake and the green snake puppets. I also really liked all the kimonos. You don't want them to look like clown suits, you want them to look like actual kimonos you could buy in China. They looked beautiful. But my favorite was when they combined the puppets and the costumes and made The Crane's (Emily Sophia Knapp) suit, which was basically a white outfit with a white wig that went over the eyes and the nose and then it had a giant crane head. I thought it was amazing looking. I think it might have been one of my favorite costumes ever.

I think that Greenie and Lady Bai are the best of friends. I liked that aspect, that there was a servant that they didn't treat like a servant. You knew they were such good friends because when they saw each other on the mountain, Greenie wanted to go with the white snake to the human's world. They are very different because Lady Bai is very skilled and very patient and the other one knows some tricks and is very impatient. You liked both of them because Greenie is kind of like the comic relief. I thought that she was funny because seeing a snake that is impatient is just hilarious. She is also very nice and kind and she also was very enthusiastic about everything. And she was also very good a proposing marriage for someone!

I really liked the villain Fa Hai even though he was evil. He was telling the truth that Lady Bai was a demon. But she was not an evil demon and she was not going to try to kill her husband, so he was wrong about that. I also liked how evil he was and how sinister because it makes for a very good story. I also really liked his accomplice who turns into his ex-accomplice. That was a cute little monk (Eliza Shin) who was trying to make Xu Xian happier about being forced to be a monk. But then she said, "I don't really think it is fair that he forced you to be a monk," and then she helped him escape. I liked both of these monks very much, and I thought they did a great job acting evil and cute.

People who would like this show are people who like magical pharmacies, impatient green snakes, and giant snakes in your bed--go and check right now! Are you back? Any snakes there? The point of the show was to tell you that you are never alone, and even if someone is gone forever they are still around. And when you love someone, your love could last forever. I think this show should be for ages 6 and up because a five-year-old kid might get sad about all the talk of death. People should definitely go see this show. I loved it! The acting is amazing; the puppets are amazing; everything is amazing!

Photos: Liz Lauren and T. Charles Erickson

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