Snow Queen at the Herberger

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.

Center Stage

Photo of Herberger entrance to The Kax Stage  


This Friday, Lunchtime Theatre accommodated a much larger crowd in Stage West for this holiday performance.

Center Stage

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: Tim Fuller

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.

12 thoughts on “Snow Queen at the Herberger

  1. You are lucky such things as this is very accessible to you 🙂 I am also not familiar with the tale of Snow Queen, though I never dreamed to be her.

    • I wasn’t very familiar with this fairy tale either until I went to the performance. I had seen this performance advertised in years past and just could never find the time to go until this year.

    • It is a really nice thing to have nearby. Even when I was in college and had time to go to events during the day…I really don’t remember my university having plays during the day so when I started working and found out this local theater scheduled lunch-time performances, I was so happy. 🙂 It does make the work day go a little faster and help you unwind for a bit.

  2. I love the story of The Snow Queen. You’re so lucky to have been able to watch a live performance of it. The actress portraying the queen looks so majestic!

  3. Hi there Nicole, thats a nice story and a lovely idea for lunch hour. It takes your mind completely away from work for a short while which is a good thing, I think its very refreshing. Regards SN.

  4. I had a hardcover copy of the Snow Queen with maquettes of puppets instead of illustrations – it was a very odd, somehow scary and terrible tale at the time although I remember being fascinated by the how the scenes had been meticulously constructed…


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