THE BUTT-CRACKER SUITE: A TRAILER PARK BALLET
Created, Directed, Designed and Produced by CHRIS MARCH
November 24 - December 29, 2012
HERE Arts Center 145 Avenue of Americas at Dominick Street
Choreographer: Benjamin Franklin
Associate Choreographer: Joshua Dean
Lighting Designer: Jennyb of shady lady lighting
Scenic Designer: Andrea Purcigliotti
Sound Engineer: Masako Kataoka
Production Stage Manager: Nathan K. Claus
Press Agent: Ron Lasko
And Chris March as Clara
Just in time for the holidays, Chris March and company bring to the stage a new offering sure to remind the audience not to take things too seriously. Aside from the obvious spin on The Nutcracker Suite, Mr. March’s THE BUTT-CRACKER SUITE: A TRAILER PARK BALLET draws from a wide array of influences. A theatrical homage to many things, the impressive production manages to fill the trailer park not with sugar plum fairies and all things sparkly from holidays past, but rather with oversized candy bars, twirling cans of beer and a few gems in the form of video clips from pop culture classics.
First and foremost are the talented dancers who elevate the production beyond campy and fun to an evening of witnessing skilled performance. The choreography is by Ben Franklin, and associate choreographer Joshua Dean does some particularly high-energy performance as one of the dancers in the piece. Then there are the costumes. Mr. March’s design has his cast dressed in everything from candy wrappers to beer cans to bowling pins to ugly holiday sweaters and Spam. Against the backdrop of the trailer park set by Andrea Purcigliotti, complete with an outdoor toilet and beer-stocked fridge, no opportunity is avoided to exploit the potential for trashiness.
Here, Clara (played by Mr. March) escapes her daily grind into a dream world laden with food and drink, music and dance, presented to the audience as the reimagining of The Nutcracker through the lens of entertainment both mainstream and edgy. Ranging from the camp to the classic, memorable highlights include dancing pink flamingoes, costumes inspired by the "major award" from A Christmas Story, a dance number that hints at Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Spam, Spam and more Spam, clips from a number of comfort food commercials, and even footage from the cha cha heel scene in John Waters’ Female Trouble.
While clearly an ironic take on holiday classics, THE BUTT-CRACKER SUITE is more than smirk and satire. The production really is a reinventing of The Nutcracker, and features some skilled performances and design elements. While no one dances in toe shoes, there is plenty of ballet, some tap, and more. The costumes are inspired, and work well with the precise choreography and wide range of musical selections to present an overall event that is bound to put a smile on your face.
- Kessa De Santis -