Snow Globe Festival aimed at youth
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Saturday, Dec 14, 2013 06:00 am
Snow Globe Festival of Children’s Theatre
Tuesday, Dec. 17 to Saturday, Dec. 21
C103 (Formerly Catalyst Theatre)
8529 – 103 St.
Tickets: $10 to $12. Call 780-420-1757 or purchase online at www.tixonthesquare.ca
What child hasn’t upended a decorative snow globe and been drawn into a faraway fantasy?
For many these magical watery snowscapes are a way of preserving memories. For Snow Globe Festival founder-producer Ellen Chorley, the visions are a way of unlocking popular culture for young audiences.
“Our idea was to produce a wintery festival, a global themed festival that doesn’t focus on Christmas. We don’t want it to be culture specific. It’s for any family,” says Chorley.
Now in its third incarnation, the Snow Globe Festival is running December 17 to 21 at C103, formerly Catalyst Theatre. Operating under the umbrella of Promise Productions, the children’s fest is branching out with commissioned scripts, larger casts and a new collaborative partner.
Azimuth Theatre, a leader in producing some of Edmonton’s largest festivals including NextFest and the Expanse Festival, has jumped on board to provide mentorship opportunities.
“They bring a lot of experience to the table and I hope to keep learning from them and make the Snow Globe Festival better,” said Chorley.
Over the festival’s five-day run there will be a combined 25 performances from three shows that develop either sleep or dream themes.
Chorley takes a hand at directing How to Eat Like a Child, a 45-minute musical based on a book by Delia Ephron. Using a string of comedy sketches and songs, the show lampoons the adult world from a child’s perspective.
“I stumbled upon it about 10 to 15 years ago and thought it would be fun to do. The music is so catchy. It’s colourful and it gives me the chance to direct,” Chorley said.
In this version Doran celebrates his 10th birthday and the neighbourhood kids have built an epic blanket fort for the party. The musical sleepover celebrates the joys and sorrows of being a kid and gives important step-by-step life lessons.
Stuff like how to eat those awful vegetables, or how to torture your sister, or how to beg for a dog, or how to deal with the injustice of walking to the candy store while Mom and Dad drive.
St. Albert actor Doran Werner plays Doran, a kid who is at first quite shy.
“He has fewer filters than adults. He’s a little obnoxious, maybe a tad annoying,” Werner said.
But it is kid Doran’s birthday and he’s going gangbusters to celebrate the most important day of his life.
“When I was a kid, it was definitely a special occasion. I remember being very meticulous about who I wanted to come. It’s not a stretch for me to play a kid. He’s not that different from what I am now.”
Several similarities are their shared sense of humour and less filtered outlook on life.
“I’ve tried to keep that as an adult. If you want to say something, say it. Why hold back?” he asks.
And Chorley seems to agree.
“I’ve wanted to work with Doran for a while. He has a beautiful voice and he’s a cheeky actor with a sparkle in his eye. Everything comes from his heart.”
The other two festival shows are Ben Gorodetsky’s commissioned Boogie Monster Club and Brother Platypus and Sister Su-Kat Go To Sea written by Steve Pirot and Khiara Quigley.
In Goretsky’s Boogie Monster, three children move to Edmonton. Dustin is from the Ermineskin Cree Reserve, Vova is from the Ukraine and Maggie is from South Africa. Accompanying them are nightmarish monsters.
“The children find it easy to settle in, however the boogie monsters follow them but don’t fit in. When things are in different environments, they’re funny and everyone has to deal with change,” notes Chorley.
On the other hand, Brother Platypus and Sister Su-Kat is an offshoot of Steve Pirot’s 2008 adult dream play Su-Kat about two-star crossed lovers.
“Steve has taken some of the characters from the original and invented new characters and made a kids’ version of Su-Kat.”
In this version, Suzanne is a little girl who dreams she’s a cat, the Empress of the Sands. During her dream, Suzanne finds a baby platypus and decides to take him back to the sea. During her voyage she meets a plethora of interesting characters.
In addition to the theatrical productions, the festival boasts a nightly Half-Time Show filled with kid’s Shakespeare, storytelling and music.
“This is a great way to celebrate the holidays. It’s affordable, engaging theatre. It’s excellent entertainment. There’s two new world premieres and it’s a lovely way to stay warm.”