One of the perks of working in downtown Phoenix is Lunch Time Theatre at the Herberger Theatre Center. Every month, a different 45 minute play is featured. Performances typically start around 12:15pm and end by 1:00pm so that you can squeeze in a play during your lunch hour. You can even bring your lunch or order a catered box lunch to eat during the performance.
Photo of Herberger entrance to Stage West.
On Friday, Lunch Time Theatre featured an abridged version of The Snow Queen. This was a little different from most Lunchtime Theatre performances because it was a full hour performance and featured a dance performance. Also, Lunch Time theatre normally takes place in the Kax Stage, which is a small performance space.
Photo of Herberger entrance to The Kax Stage
This Friday, Lunchtime Theatre accommodated a much larger crowd in Stage West for this holiday performance.
Interior Shot of Stage West
Local choreographer Francis Smith Cohen re-tells the fairy tale The Snow Queen, first published in 1845 by Hans Christian Andersen, through dance. The full performance of Cohen’s The Snow Queen takes place over 9 acts. For Lunch Time Theatre, the performance is truncated to 6 acts. For $6.00, a 6 act dance performance is a pretty good bargain.
In Cohen’s version of The Snow Queen, two lovebirds Kai and Gerda are shown celebrating during a summer holiday in their village. Meanwhile, The Snow Queen looks into a mirror that has been distorted, and The Snow Queen is disgusted by her look so she smashes the mirror and it breaks into many pieces which fall over the Earth.
While outside celebrating, Kai is struck in the heart and eye by pieces of the mirror. This freezes his heart and makes him forget love, and he runs away from his village. The Snow Queen finds Kai and takes him back to her palace.
Gerda is heartbroken, but leaves her village to search for Kai. In her journey for Kai, Gerda meets The Snow Queen’s 3 sisters. One of the sisters, The Rose Spirit tells Gerda that the rose she carries around from the last encounter with Kai still carries their love, and that the rose will help Kai regain his sense of love.
After her encounters with all 3 sisters, Gerda is confronted by a group of robbers. They want all her valuables, including her pouch with contains the rose given to her by Kai. Gerda pleads with the robbers and tells them about her quest to find Kai. The robbers hate The Snow Queen and tell Gerda they can help her find The Snow Queen’s palace, where Kai is being held captive by The Snow Queen.
Eventually Gerda and the robbers make it to the palace. Gerda figures out that her rose petals can thwart The Snow Queen’s minions, but she ends up losing all her petals by the time she finds Kai frozen in a block of ice. Realizing she had nothing left to help Kai escape from his frozen prison, Gerda cries. Gerda’s salty tears melt Kai’s icy prison and also unfreeze his heart. The two are finally reunited.
Photo of The Snow Queen herself.
I wasn’t too familiar with the original tale of The Snow Queen, but I found this performance quite enjoyable. The special effects such as fog to indicate a dream sequence, glowing eyes on a snow monster that guards the forest outside of the palace and plenty of fake snow falling onto the stage made for a festive performance.