Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thoughts on “Funky Snowman”

Fresh and fun, short and sweet. Loved the fact that every character has a name, even though no one says a word throughout the play. The French gibberish was truly brilliant – frommage l’etage, mon frère! Julia’s looks of mischief were priceless: she was clearly the most malicious kid in the school.

It’s all frolic and mayhem on the surface, but I see a lot of impressive formal achievements in Funky Snowman:

Non-verbal communication should never be taken for granted. It is a language that demands the artist to stick to the essentials – excess doesn’t just weaken the content, but renders it unintelligible. There isn’t a single moment in the play where you’re in doubt about what’s happening.

Only the snowman’s and Fritzi’s performances are stylized, clownish. That sets them apart in a fantasy world of their own. Ambitious, sophisticated, precise and effective – and I think kids would get it, too (though they’d hardly phrase it like that).

Last, but not least, It is fun for both adults and children, which is no simple feat: you always run the risk of leaning to either public and sounding patronizing to adults or boring to kids.

As a general rule I’m trying to go beyond praise or disapproval in my posts, including some constructive criticism for all plays. But it’s difficult to find points in which this one could improve. It is completely self-contained and streamlined. Perhaps it could use some more lighting work to differentiate the inside of the classroom from the outside where Fritzi meets the snowman. But that could be just me, I like to see lights changing colors on stage.

I’m not sure how much my opinions on the play can be trusted, though: they had me at the Louis Prima song. It was a great choice – Prima’s wild style works like a pantomime introduction for the manic action that follows. More importantly, though: Louis Prima kicks ass. Who should I thank for that? Michael?

1 comment:

  1. Thank the whole team, though the playwright, Wendy Bable, originally envisioned that song for that scene. We all fell in love with it from the start.

    - Kathryn Flowers, SM