Guest Writer: Angie Dilmore
It’s crunch time at the North Pole. Santa and his elves scurry to finish making toys and load the sleigh before their Christmas Eve deadline.
So begins the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s thoroughly delightful production last weekend. I’ve been to several of this company’s performances, and this show was my favorite so far. The elaborate sets and colorful lavish costumes make the stage pop, but it’s the talented dancers who entertain, amuse, and bring the show to life. LCCB performs only original productions. No stale nuts at our Rosa Hart Theater. The company has been thrilling audiences with the Rudolph production every few years since the late 1960s.
The opening scene pays homage to the true nature of the Christmas season with a beautiful dance of Mary, with the Christ child in the manger. Then ballet director Lady Holly introduces Santa Claus. Santa and Mrs. Claus guide the elves through a fun frolicking scene at the North Pole. These young performers enthusiastically dance around the stage with wrapped presents and a myriad of toys. Humor is at the forefront here. The elves then take Santa’s list around the world and we see dancers, veiled in gauzy shadows behind a screen, represent exotic places such as Russia, Hawaii, Scotland, Switzerland, Mexico, Arabia, Holland, and Japan.
We finally have the pleasure of meeting Rudolph when Santa checks to see if the reindeer are ready for their annual trip. He discovers Rudolph feeling sad and alone. The other reindeer shove, snub, or completely ignore Rudolph and her blinking bright red nose. They believably paw at the ground, strut, swagger, and point their noses haughtily in the air. Rudolph tries so hard to make friends with the other reindeer, to no avail. Santa brushes off Rudolph’s woes. Despondent, the little reindeer runs off into the forest. Magical pine trees comfort Rudolph and Eskimo children encourage and lift her spirits.
Then it’s Christmas Eve and we all know the story. Snow and fog threaten Santa’s trek ‘round the world. Here we meet the exquisite Snow Queen, shimmering in a sparkling blue tutu, accompanied by a flurry of graceful snowflakes.
Back at the reindeer stable, Santa realizes Rudolph’s shiny nose can save Christmas. Through the magic of theatrics, the audience sees only the beacon and imagines Santa and his sleigh passing through the rows of seats, up into the balcony, and back towards the stage. The grand finale brings the entire jubilant cast out on stage for bows and a much deserved standing ovation.
Congratulations to the LCCB on an awesome performance! I can’t wait to see Sleeping Beauty in March 2012!