Mudlark Theater: World premiere adaptation of ‘The Snow Queen’

Mudlark Theater starts the year off with a world premiere adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen.

Adapted by Artistic Director Andrew Biliter and directed by Executive Director Michael Miro and Biliter, The Snow Queen opens Friday, Jan. 20, and runs Jan. 20-22, continuing the following weekend of Jan. 26-29 at Noyes Street Theatre, 927 Noyes St., Evanston, IL. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for adults, and can be purchased at www.mudlarktheater.org.

In a city on the outskirts of Lapland, a demonic schoolteacher exposes his students to a magic mirror that causes all who look into it, or through it, to see the world as ugly. But when the mirror breaks and a tiny shard falls into the eyes of young Kai, he becomes cynical and cold, drawing the attention of the Snow Queen. She whisks Kai away to her frozen palace, and it is up to his best friend Gerda to traverse wild lands, battle strange enchantments, and outsmart a host of other dangerous and magical creatures in order to save her friend.

While not as well known as Anderson’s other short stories like “The Little Mermaid” or “The Ugly Duckling,” the story of the Snow Queen has existed on the fringes of popular culture for generations. Its influence can be seen in everything from popular video games to Italian operas to Disney’s blockbuster hit Frozen. But rarely is it adapted in its entirety.  

“I’m extremely excited for audiences to see this show,” says Miro. “For so many of the adapted classics that we do, audiences walk in the door with a general perception of what is going to happen. With this story, they have absolutely no idea what to expect. We get to introduce them to this strange, dark, and ultimately moving story because no one has successfully created a a faithful adaptation that pushes it into the mainstream.

“It’s really a kind of oddball fairytale,” says Biliter. “It’s a little bit of Grimm, a little bit of Lewis Carroll. It’s also one of the few stories in the fairy tale genre where the girl saves the boy, which we thought was pretty cool.”

In addition, the story tackles a unique theme within the fairy tale genre: loneliness. 

“We’ve set the story in Lapland, not far from the North Pole,” explains Biliter. “So every character that Gerda meets on her journey is lonely or isolated in some way. They deal with their loneliness in pretty unhealthy ways—like bewitching and kidnapping children. Gerda’s challenge then is to face these lonely characters and try to influence them through empathy and compassion.”

Fans of Mudlark can look forward to a magical world brought to life at the Noyes Street Theatre bursting with of original music, exquisite choreography, and a scenic and costume landscape inspired by Finnish culture and architecture.

The Snow Queen design team includes Sarah Lewis (Scenic), Victoria Carot (Costumes), Beth Ashworth (Sound), Jessica Doyle (Lights), Phoebe Finamore (Props), Dru Smith (Fight Choreographer), Katherine Scott (Movement Choreography) and Mike Mroch (Technical Director).


Up Next: 

Mudlark Theater’s Spring 2017 Season has been announced. Following The Snow Queen will be an original fairy tale Imogen (March 16-19) written by Chicago playwright Jose Nateras and directed by Dru Smith, a new adaptation of Gogol’s short story “The Nose” (April 6-9) that will be devised by the cast and directed by Aileen McGroddy, a remounting of Mudlark’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland (April 21-23, 27-30) adapted and directed by Andrew Biliter, a new play inspired by popular fairy tales titled The Fairy Grimm Tales (May 4-7) adapted by John Taflan and directed by Krista D’Agostino, and the annual production of Mudpie, a show adapted from creating writing pieces by local kids (May 12-14, 18-21) directed by Christina Lepri and Katherine Scott. For more information about upcoming Mudlark shows, visit www.mudlarktheater.org/shows.

Mudlark Theater is a not-for-profit organization where children are taken seriously as artists, and learn theater by making it.  As a rule, the general public expects little of children’s theater. Mudlark’s goal is to raise that expectation and keep it there. By holding children to a higher standard and empowering them to make strong artistic choices, we create the possibility for great theater—vibrant, funny, compelling shows that erase the boundary between youth and professional theater. 

For more information about Mudlark Theater, visit www.mudlarktheater.org.

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