Just another site

Posts Tagged ‘opera

Snow White aka No Room for Rivals

leave a comment »


Snow White 1-5431 (2)

photos by Mark Shelby Perry

Gliding into Austin McCormick’s world is like waking up in a snow globe, perfect in its stillness, better when shaken. His visual artistry and stagecraft is completely magical and in Snow White, everything but white. The darkness of his staging is Weimar, a perfect landscape for the retelling of this Brother Grimm’s fairy tale. The poor Queen is aging —OMG, and with that the fear of future rivals replacing her position of chief intoxicator.  And who would that be but little Snow White.


As played by Hilary Bodin, Snow White seems more childlike than sexual rival. She is short, square and muscular while The Queen, excellent Laura Careless, all sinuous moves, should feel no real threat. But alas, the mirror of narcissism tells her she is no longer the ONE, so all efforts to destroy the rival must be put into place.

The crew of lovers and assistants, wearing blonde wigs like African tribesman, serve her erotic needs as well as ours as they prance, and fall under her spell of power. Alas, they cannot bring Snow White’s heart, so the Queen must be deceived.

The original Snow White has many attempts by the evil step-mother to do in her charming competitor, but plot wise, it felt like one attempt too many. Somewhere it might have been fun to have watched her check in with her shrink instead of another aborted attempt at destroying Snow White, but when she tries to suffocate her with corset ribbons; it is a beautifully choreographed and staged scene.

Marcy Richardson’s operatic vocal addition is just how you want to hear a fairy tale sung. A little more air space in  the first half might be nice. Between trying to understand all the German and keep up with the furious dance, I was ready for a break and a drink from this mother- daughter trauma tale.

Snow White 6-7236-w (2)


The terrific circus performances gave me just that after intermission; a respite from all the tension. And when the Prince (Courtney Giannone) arrives on a Cyr wheel, all the magic falls back into place.

Snow White 2-8752

That less was made of the rescue of Snow White by her male hero is perhaps a true feminist touch. Snow White rescues herself finally by putting her mother away.  It seems the Grimm’s had trouble with the ending and this ending, too, seemed less dynamic than the rest of the production. Maybe a botched face lift would be more appropriate than a burning. Still, ding dong, the witch is dead and beauty and youth prevail.

Snow White 3-5599 (1)

McCormick has great taste in music, mixing highbrow with klezmer. Jeannette Oi-Suk Yes, the lighting designer thrills with her magic mirror projections and the glass enclosed coffin by set designer  Zane Pihistrom, is the stuff of dreams.

Performers: Marisol Cabrera, Lea Halle, Nicholas Katen, Malik Shabazz Kitchen, Mark Osmundson, Davon Rainey.

Company XIV’s adult only world premiere of Snow White, conceived, directed and choreographed by Drama Desk Award nominee Austin McCormick is running Off-Broadway until March at the Minetta Lane Theatre (18 Minetta Lane) in NYC. The show contains partial nudity – 16 & over admitted. For more info visit

Written by nancykoan

February 6, 2016 at 3:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret

leave a comment »

Imagine sitting through 3 hours without an intermission.. if this had been the opera, one might begrudgingly understand …but a movie without Elizabeth Taylor? Remarkably, this oftimes operatic like film by uber talented Kenneth Lonergan moves swiftly like the city it takes place in..New York.

A teenaged Anna Paquin witnesses and is somewhat responsible for something that becomes the trigger for the rest of the story…and everything else supports her in this tale of growth, confusion, and search for connection.  All of the acting is top rate, J. Smith Cameron, Mark Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Allison Janney, Mathew Broderick and Elaine May’s now skinny kid, Jeannie Berlin (remember her from Heartbreak Kid)?

Paquin as Lisa Cohen is an intelligent piece of molten lava who manipulates those around her while desperately trying to find her internal balance. She is lit in many ways, offering her up as seductress in one scene, and pimply raging monster another. The many faces of burgeoning womanhood.

Longergan writes beautifully for his female characters… 38 points for that as well as seeming to understand the New York Jewish defnese mechanism …especially when Jean Reno, playing a Columbian software guy, makes a comment about it…innocently revealing the bias that lies hidden in us all.

In this longer version, the director writer inserts rambling street conversations,giving the viewer the sense of NY as a fishbowl, with everyone talking at the same time. It’s effective, as well as the slow moving crowd scenes, reminding how time rarely stands  still in a city on the move.

I was an easy teen, but I imagine many parents, especially in divorced situations, can identify the family struggles.

Lonergan succeeds in bringing many issues to the fore in this film ==the idiocy of ‘justice’ through monetary rewards; the pull of sex; and the struggle to find peace with each other and with the world. All issues deserving of an opera which he also provides by way of Renee Fleming and Tales of Hoffman.