Elves spark magic in season debut
October 11, 2010 —
Magic elves in a shoe shop carried a message to its war-weary characters that life is a playful mystery.
The message of “Elves and the Shoemaker” at the Malcolm Field Theater was that “love, loyalty and friendship” are important, especially during war.
The play, which ran last weekend and was directed by Janet Rubin, professor of theater, was the first production of the school year.
The setting of the play was a ‘war-torn Europe’ with a grumpy shoemaker named Gunther. He lost his son in the war and took a boy named Peter under his wing. Nineteen people were cast in the play plus one middle school student from Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy.
Rubin said countless hours were invested in this production.
“It’s always interesting putting a show together from the preliminary stages of blocking and characterizations, then once you add everything, it comes together very nicely,” she said.
But that’s not to say that it wasn’t a challenge.
David Milka (Gunther) had to learn to make shoes in order to fully get into character, which was very difficult, he said. But it paid off.
“It made [everything] seem a lot more realistic once I really learned how to make a shoe,” he said.
For some, like Tillie Dorgan, theatre freshman, it was a debut performance.
“You learn a lot,” she said. “[The cast] are just good people to work with.”
Dorgan played Gunther’s antagonist, Madame Grotsky, who was the baron’s wife. Her character ordered several pairs of shoes during the play.
Dorgan wasn’t the only fresh talent on the stage last weekend. Dave Ryan, another theater freshman, was performing his first college show.
Ryan played the role of Karl, who also seemed to agitate Gunther. Karl loved Gunther in the production, yet was despised by him because in the eyes of a grumpy man, Karl was too chipper.
For others such as theater sophomore Cameron Thorp, this was not a debut, but was a success nonetheless, he said.
Thorp said that even while some of the characters – including his own – were less than likeable, the setting and costumes were dead on.
Besides the props, sound and costumes, Rubin added another touch.
Rubin said she wanted to portray the elves as magical people to help the actors make the play come alive, so she had them tumble and flip on stage.