GREENSBORO — Take caution to the imminence of winter, for a gentle snowfall — alluring as it may be — is the perfect canopy for rage.
Especially so at the hands of a scornful queen, where the blistering and unforgiving chill freezes to the bone, and without prudence, goes straight to the heart as well.
Yet for the second consecutive year, Triad Stage triumphs with bravery and a tune beckoning springtime in its production of “Snow Queen.”
The Preston Lane and Laurelyn Dossett adaptation, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the same name, pays homage to the distinctively vibrant culture of the Appalachian Mountains. Lane and Dossett weave together traditional oral storytelling devices, geographical dialects and original folk music to artfully showcase a Southern emergence into the highly acclaimed Danish classic.
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The story follows Gertie, a young girl on a quest to retrieve her dear friend, Cade, after he is abducted by the Snow Queen one wintery day. As Gertie courageously makes her way north in pursuit, she happens upon an assortment of characters that both abet and obscure the journey before her.
In the end, love and perseverance prove just what it takes to thaw away the ice and free the boy.
There is a profound trichotomy at play in the production that aids its theatrical effectiveness. The merging of music, text and visual stimuli work in unison to achieve a richness and complexity often unreached when retelling folklore for the main stage.
Dossett’s beautiful musical arrangements — perfectly executed by musicians Scott Manring, Faye Petree and Ben Singer — are without question treasures not only in terms of the play itself, but also in the overarching arena of folk music as a whole. The music alone is incentive enough to fill the audience seats.
Emily Gardner Hall as the Snow Queen and Gayton Scott as the narrating Story Weaver, both make their return to the production, once again captivating theatergoers with their immense talent and presence. Hall’s vocals delight with every note she sings, and Scott’s mastery of the language and dialect make it challenging to decipher if she is even acting at all.
Jamison Stern and Amy Hamel are also particularly noteworthy in their portrayals of various supporting characters throughout the show.
The visual aspect of the production is unquestionably the shining star of the evening. Howard C. Jones’ scenic design is enchanting, and creatively transforms amidst the magical world of the play.
Costume designer Bill Brewer creates masterpieces with elegant fabrics, regal headpieces and billowing gowns.
Triad Stage’s production of “Snow Queen” is welcome in the winter season, and all the values and thrills of this time of year. But heed warning and be careful of what may be lurking in the cold.
Contact Brandon Jones at email@example.com.
This News & Record arts coverage is supported by contributions to ArtsGreensboro’s Arts & Theatre Media Fund.