'The Snow Queen' takes on Canadian twist

A very different version of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Snow Queen, will be staged in Saint John beginning on Friday.

Performing arts school inserts elements such as Maud Lewis, Franklin Expedition into Danish classic

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      A very different version of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale The Snow Queen will be staged in Saint John beginning on Friday.

      Students at the InterAction School of Performing Arts have abandoned the Danish setting and have transported the story to Canada, weaving elements of this country's history and culture into the tale.

      For example, one story features a character based on Maritime folk artist Maud Lewis, and another features the Franklin Expedition.

      "If I'm going to adapt a show, I like to make it relevant for our audience," said Kate Elman-Wilcott, the executive director of the school and head of the theatre department.

      "And it's an important thing for the young actors – they are between 11 and 18 that I'm working with right now – it's important for them learn how to adapt and how to connect with their audience.

      "We decided that we would use our own cultural story and landscape and history to tell the story," said Elman-Wilcott.

      Another feature of the show is physical actor and mask maker Jim Dalling, of Toronto, who is a friend of Elman-Wilcott, was able to spend some time with the students in the summer and fall and work with them to make latex masks for their characters.

      "He sculpted them out of clay, and then made the moulds out of them with plaster, and then used liquid latex to create the masks. And when they were set, the kids painted them.

      "It's a whole different type of acting for them because it's very visual and there is a lot of subtlety with how they move their heads and how they react to things."

      The Snow Queen premieres at the school's theatre on Germain Street in Saint John on Friday with shows on the following dates:

      • Dec. 5- school show in the morning; evening show 7 p.m.
      • Dec. 6 - matinee 1 p.m.; evening show 7 p.m.
      • Dec. 12 - school show in the morning
      • Dec. 13 - matinee 1 p.m.; evening show 7 p.m.