CriticalDance Forum

Nutcracker Fatigue
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Author:  tot [ Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Nutcracker Fatigue

This is mostly directed at those who are reviewing and writing: I’m wondering if anyone else is weary yet. I feel like I can’t come up with another way to describe the Party Scene! How do you keep your writing fresh? I’m trying to always be conscious of not overusing an idea or phrase. And while no production is exactly alike, I find myself fearful of repetition. Any advice is appreciated. Any ranting is appreciated as well. :D

Happy Holidays!
The Totter

Author:  Dean Speer [ Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

Nutcracker Fatigue?! You've got to be kidding!? Who would EVER tire of this wonderful ballet, in all of its many guises? ;)

Seriously, for ACT I, how about "creative" or "it moved along nicely" or "more dancing than most?" For those productions that need tweaking, how about "needs work!" or "too dull" or "needs re-thinking and re-tooling" or "more dancing!" :cool:

Author:  tot [ Thu Dec 18, 2003 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

Ah, Dean, thank you! I'm already feeling refreshed! This weekend should be then end of the Nuts assault. Thanks for the tips!

I should be sent into time out for even suggesting that one could tire of Nutcrackers. :D

Author:  rogerm [ Sat Dec 20, 2003 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

Several years ago I heard a musician explain how they get through Pacific Northwest Ballet's long Nutcracker season. They assign a theme to each day's performance(s). For example, one day might be "Chocolate Day" where, I presume, the musicians would bring chocolate candy to exchange with one another. The theme that I found the most amusing was "Watch The Conductor Day," implying, of course, that the rest of the time, they don't.

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Dec 20, 2003 9:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

LOL! That's great idea. Did they bring enough for everyone?

(Also, should this topic be moved to the Holiday Performances forum? I believe there is another similar topic there already.)

Author:  djb [ Sat Dec 20, 2003 11:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

You need special circumstances, such as what SFB had to go through tonight. There was a large power outage in the central part of the city, and there were no lights backstage. Since the house was sold out, or close to it, refunding everyone's money probably seemed like a bad idea, so they gave a performance without stage makeup and wigs, that started nearly an hour late.

First we were treated to a view of the stage with dancers in street clothes/warm-up clothes for quite awhile, while decisions and then arrangements were made. Then Helgi Tomasson announced (without a mike) that they would perform in about 20 minutes, without makeup. Then the SFB orchestra played a medley of Christmas carols to pass the time; then they played it again, and this time the audience pretty much stopped talking.

Finally the curtain came down, and there were some lighting/curtain miscues, one of which consisted of raising the curtain at the wrong time so that a number of people onstage had to scurry off suddenly.

What was interesting was seeing all these characters in the party scene without their character makeup. Since SFB's female party guests do very accurate period hairstyles, it was a shock to see them with their hair in plain buns. As for Drosselmeyer, I decided I like him much better without the bald head.

So, you worn-out critics, start figuring out ways to arrange blackouts in your neighborhood.

<small>[ 21 December 2003, 12:15 AM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Dec 21, 2003 6:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

On balance I agree Azlan that this discussion would be better in "Holiday Performances" and I will move it there.

<small>[ 21 December 2003, 07:16 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Dec 21, 2003 6:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

For several years I resented the way that "The Nutcracker" takes over the dance world at this time of year. This seems to be particularly marked in the US and was one of the reasons why we opened this "Holiday Forum".

However, over the past two years my heart has softened somewhat. The current RB "Nutcracker", staged by Sir Peter Wright, is a fine dance production and after a couple of years, the Royal Ballet is having a "Nutcracker" free year and has scheduled "Cinderella" for the holiday period.

In addition, I recently saw Estonian National Ballet's version, with Marie rather than Clara and a different structure, which presents new perspectives. I haven't seen it, but Scottish Ballet's new production is also a very different ballet - thank goodness for variety.

I get the impression Tot that the US productions have many similarities, so I can understand the fatigue factor. But for many companies "The Nutcracker" is a vital means to balance the books as well as a way to reach new audiences.

<small>[ 22 December 2003, 03:31 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  tot [ Sun Dec 21, 2003 9:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

My thanks to the gracious moderators who moved my post to the most appropriate location.

djb, I think I would have enjoyed seeing that production- I bet the energy on stage was amazing.

I’ve just finished my final Nutcracker review for the year, I think and hope. And I must say, the version the Scottish Ballet is producing is the version I’ve been waiting for ever since my aunt bought me the Sendak illustrated version of the Hoffman story. If I could, I’d fly away tonight to see it. All things considered, I’ve seen two really interesting versions in my regions, so who am I to complain :D

Author:  sugar plum fairy [ Mon Dec 22, 2003 3:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

I could watch the Nutcracker everyday and not get tired of it!! As i mentioned on some other post ,Nutcracker is magical and gives you the escape you need at this time of year (or any time to be truthful!!). Also it is set in times past ,a time we can only try to recreate in our homes but never experience except via the ballet.So no,bring on the Nutcracker....i'm happy. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Author:  djb [ Mon Dec 22, 2003 3:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

As I was walking into the Opera House, it occurred to me to question our (the audience's) priorities. Here we were in a blackout, with the smoke from the fire that caused the blackout very noticeable out on the street, limited lighting in the theatre, and yet everyone's waiting around, fully expecting that the show will go on.

<small>[ 22 December 2003, 04:56 AM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  mehunt [ Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

LOL, I think that says something about SFB's reputation for "Show must go on!"

As for myself, Nut fatigue always sets in, but I have to say, a really good performance of it will always refresh me and remind me why I love ballet so much.

Eric and I went to see The Hard Nut Saturday. He'd never seen it before and laughed through the whole thing! It sort of refreshed the palate after a long slog of hearing that music over and over again.

Author:  Dave [ Tue Dec 23, 2003 1:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

Tot, I assume you're familiar with PNB's production of Nutcracker with Maurice Sendak's set and costume designs. When creating it, Sendak and Artistic Director Kent Stowell also went back to the original, darker, E.T.A. Hoffmann tale.

<small>[ 23 December 2003, 02:10 AM: Message edited by: Dave ]</small>

Author:  tot [ Wed Dec 24, 2003 4:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker Fatigue

Hi Dave! Yes, I'm familiar with PNB, and for the longest time, it's definitely been my favorite, for those very reasons. The PNB version is not, however, entirely faithful to the short story, and it seems (from the articles posted to this forum) that the SB is going to be even more faithful. Maybe I'm wrong and just "wishful thinking Tot" but that was my impression.

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