Revelstoke Theatre Company’s latest production, The Snow Queen, is ready to go live.
The production is Charley Way’s contemporary re-imagining of the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. In the story, the Snow Queen’s mirror has shattered, and with it her power to rule the world in perpetual winter. A shard from the mirror has flown into young Cei’s eye, turning him rude and mean.
Impressed by his quick mind, Cei is carried off by the Snow Queen to finish her mirror. The story centres upon his best friend, shy and nervous Gerda, who must travel the seasons and save her friend.
The show is directed by Anna Fin, a veteran stage and movie actress who studied at the European Theatre Institute in Berlin, Germany. Experienced stage manager Martin Ralph is on board and the show has been in production since before Christmas.
“I’ve always been intrigued by fairy tales,” Fin said of why she chose The Snow Queen. “Every previous play I had been involved with in Revelstoke had some tragic or aggressive content. I wanted to direct a play that stimulated fantasy and imagination in a different, more positive way.”
“The Snow Queen features the largest youth cast outside of a musical we’ve ever put on,” producer Zofie Humphrey said. “But the show has seasoned adult actors as well, and it has been very cool watching the two mix and grow.”
Frankie Howe, 13, plays the lead role of Gerda. “I knew Frankie could do it,” Fin said. “I had seen her on stage before and, as a high level athlete, she can perform under pressure and commit.”
The rest of the large cast is varied in experience. David Hawthorn, a professional stage actor back when he lived in Toronto, plays Bae, a captured reindeer. “Being in this production has been a great way to get back into theatre,” Hawthorn enthused.
Among the large cast are Revelstoke Theatre regulars Ana Pollo as the Snow Queen, Felicia van Leur as the Princess of Summer, in addition to many others. Newcomer Kara Shaw is the Queen of Spring and several youth from Flying Arrow Productions won parts, including Matt Kurtenbach as Cei and Hailey Christie-Hoyle as the Princess of Autumn.
Working with the youth has been a highlight for Ralph. “There are so many wonderful ‘ah ha’ moments for young and new actors as the theatre magic moves them,” he said.
As stage manager, Ralph is responsible for the technical and artistic process. The Snow Queen requires a lot of both. “There are about 80 people full cast and crew involves,” Ralph said. “About 55 of them are crew who bring all the pieces together.”
The play has had a relatively short production period, meaning everyone involved has had busy and tight schedules. “Actors have had to work through frequent rehearsals, workshops, line readings, costume and make up fittings,” Ralph said. “It’s been a show of incredible determination and commitment from everyone.”
Humphrey and Fin both find the community’s involvement to be inspiring. “So many people have contributed their best to make this project come to life,” Fin said.
The company utilized what the cast and crew affectionately call “the red and white” and more commonly known as the old bingo building.
“We have had people help with all aspects,” Humphrey said. “And we gained a rehearsal place large enough for us to work in and build sets.”
The cast and crew are excited to show off their hard work. Ralph nicely summed it up. “We hope people enjoy the magic of this fantasy show and the live theatre experience. There is nothing like it.”
The Snow Queen plays at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre February 26, 27, 28 and March 5, 6, 7. Tickets are available online at revelstoketheatrecompany.org.
Disclosure: The author of this article has a small role in the second act.