Looking into a mirror can be hard enough, but looking into a magic mirror-on-the-wall can reveal more information than we would ever want. This February, Elmwood School’s theatre troupe invites us to examine our own reflections in their production of Nancy Harris’ The Red Shoes, an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s cautionary fairy tale of the same name.
A modern and yet timeless dark comedy, The Red Shoes, opens with a magical shoemaker/ shapeshifter who immediately warns the audience: “If you are looking for fairies, don’t hold your breath, because this fairy tale starts with a death.” Karen, a 16-year-old orphan, has just lost her mother, and shortly after the funeral, she is adopted by a family she believes to be charitable. However, seeing isn’t believing because she immediately realizes they are, in fact, avaricious using her as a means to their own ends. The orphan’s plans to please her new family quickly unravel when she meets a strange and mysterious shoemaker who tempts her into buying a pair of magic red shoes. When she puts them on and begins to dance, she learns that the red shoes have a mind of their own, and chaos ensues. Complete with absurd characters, a topsy-turvy dinner party, a boisterous ballroom dance, and a magic mirror, The Red Shoes explores themes of temptation and redemption with wit and heart.
Under the direction of Angela Boychuk, Elmwood’s seasoned instructional leader of Arts, the production encompasses the talents of over 30 students in The Red Shoes’ cast and crew. Mrs. Boychuk encourages students to become involved in all aspects of the production; students take on the roles of carefully making costumes by hand, designing fantastical hair and makeup looks, operating the sound and lighting, stage management, and creating promotional material to advertise for the show. To attest to the student’s skills, Elmwood has been distinguished with Cappies nominations and awards in these categories. Elmwood Theatre is also fortunate enough to have the know-how of Elmwood’s Graphic and Media Designer Karenna Boychuk, who uses her expertise to guide students with the design elements of the play.
Elmwood Theatre aims to build off the success of their last production - The Light Burns Blue, for which they won a grand total of 8 Cappies, including Critic’s Favourite Play. With past productions having been distinguished with various Cappies awards, this year’s cast and crew are enthusiastically preparing for a stellar opening night.
Performances will run from February 26th to February 29th at 7:00 pm and February 29th and March 1st at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $20 for students and seniors and $25 for adults. They may be purchased at https://www.elmwood.ca/student-life/elmwood-theatre-production-2020.
Maggie Fyfe and Sabrina Fan - Grade 11 Students, Cappies Critics