Once Upon a Time…

IMG_5182Capturing the art of extravagance and the sinister relics of the Brothers Grimm, “Rose and the Rime” is no ordinary fairytale. For one thing, it takes place in the “magical” state of Michigan, in a fictional town that hasn’t seen the likes of a beach barbeque in years due to the curse of the Rime Witch, who froze the town into a state of constant snow, ice and darkness. The town’s last glimpse at youthful warmth comes in the form of Rose (Alex Gieske), a sprightly female who must save the town from its snowy slumber.   Her face tells you what she feels even when there are no words. Ryan Deloge portrays her uncle with pure honesty and the two connect with each other as a wonderful family unit.

IMG_5179On a sparsely furnished set that requires little more than white ramps and a white backdrop, the audience thinks nothing of the whiteness until the backdrop lights up in colors and the Rime Witch magically lifting into the air ten feet.  “Rose and the Rime” charms, teases and thrills audience members with its inventive display of acrobatics, song, dance and musical cacophony – poetic bursts range from a love song played on a triangle to a haunting instrumental played exclusively on bottles. Very much anchored on physical movements, “Rose’s” choreography is pure, shivery brilliance. Two particular favorites include Rose fighting a forest of whispering tree branches and a fight for a magical coin simulated by dance lifts, though there were so many dazzling transformations that even the simplest act, like shoveling snow, became something wondrous. The cast did a marvelous job of storytelling this moral tale. But it is the total package that makes it work: the set, lights, sound, music, choreography and direction.  The supporting cast of townspeople was as fanciful as it was fundamental, and each lent an air of spontaneity to the otherwise bleak surroundings. Indeed, once Rose returns from her perilous journey, the townspeople erupt into a frenzy unseen since the days of MTV’s Spring Break. But the party doesn’t last long, as curses are wont to do, and the people are faced with a new kind of villain: themselves.

IMG_5259The Homestead Theatre Department hasn’t lost its touch for playful yearning or decadent theatricality. And “Rose” is one fairytale that you’ll definitely want to see live happily ever after.

This weekend, 26 of Homestead Theatre Departments top actors and tech crew traveled to Neenah to compete in the One Act Sectional competition. After a stellar performance of their play “Rose and the Rime” all of the judges unanimously advanced the class to the State competition in Madison. The Homestead Theatre Department truly showed that we are the mighty Highlanders in their domination of sectionals.

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