by Lynn on February 18, 2015

in The Passionate Playgoer

At Young People’s Theatre, Toronto, Ont.

Created by Nikki Loach with contributions by Peter Balkwill.
Co-Directed by Nikki Loach
Co-Directed by Peter Balkwill
Designed by Loïc Lacroix Hoy
Lighting by Terry Middleton
Composed by Tim Williams
Sound by Jonathan Lewis

A charming, wordless show about kindness, consideration, forgiveness, and snowballs.

The Story. Angela and her older brother Ethan live next door to the Old Man. Ethan is a lively inconsiderate kid. He takes a short-cut to his hockey game by going over the Old Man’s fence, cutting over his property and going over the fence on the other side of the property. For fun he splashes water over the Old Man’s snowy property, thus forming ice. The unsuspecting Old Man falls and hurts himself. Ethan thinks this is hilarious. His sister Angela knows this is wrong and feels terrible. Angela, our Snow Angel, chides her brother to be a better person and make it up with the Old Man. It’s hard, but Ethan’s lesson is finally learned.

The Production. The production is wordless. Len Harvey as Old Man and a few other characters comes on stage and holds a sheet of white paper over his head. Every child (four, five and six years old) in the audience also has a white sheet of paper. On cue each child holds his/her sheet of paper over his/her head. Len Harvey crunches up his sheet of paper into a tight (snow) ball. The kids do the same. He hurls his snow ball at them. They do the same and he is pelted with a shower of snowballs and the play begins.

Masks are used to differentiate each character. They sometimes change boots and shoes as well. Often the Old Man will shovel his walk, as will Ethan. Big buckets of snowballs are dumped on the stage at regular intervals requiring more shoveling. A bird comes to roost in the birdhouse on the Old Man’s property. Ethan does more mischief here. Angela steps in and makes sure her brother becomes a better person.

The performances of Léda Davies, Christopher Duthie and Len Harvey and agile, funny, and beautifully communicative. We are never in doubt as to the meaning even though no words are spoken.

Comment. The show is 60 minutes long but around the 45 minute mark the children in the audience conveyed they were perhaps bored. They shifted audibly on cue it seems. And they fidgeted until the end of the show. Perhaps there is just one too many dumpings of fresh snow on the ground; one too many scenes repeating what we have already seen. In any case the audience is infallible in telling the creators that perhaps a shorter show might be in order. Up to that moment of fidget the audience is attentive. Snow Angel teaches a lovely message about kindness, forgiveness, apology and redemption, and it does it with this sweet show.

An Original Quest Theatre Production with development support from Young People’s Theatre.

Opened: Feb. 10, 2015.
Closes: Feb. 19, 2015
Cast: 3; 2 men, 1 woman.
Running time: 60 minutes.

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