The Synetic Family Theater will be moving its production of The Nutcracker from its intimate Shirlington digs to the company’s main theater space in Crystal City, VA.
The move is designed so that its elaborate production can take advantage of the large Crystal City stage space, according to Synetic Managing Director Salma Qarnain. “Because the stage is much bigger in Crystal City,” Qarnain explained, “we have the opportunity to increase the number of performers and allow our designers more freedom with the set and costumes.”
The Nutcracker is a ballet taken from the E.T.A. Hoffman story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” In it, a young girl receives a beautiful nutcracker shaped like a little soldier from her godfather, but her brother accidentally breaks it. Saddened, she goes to sleep cradling her new toy, and awakens to discover the house under attack from an army of giant mice. The nutcracker, grown to a giant size, leads soldiers made out of gingerbread and tin in a counterattack. He defeats the army of the mouse king, and then transforms into a handsome prince who then takes the young girl to the Land of the Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Synetic Family version also mines “The Tale of the Hard Nut” to discover how and why the Prince was originally turned into a nutcracker.
Qarnain describes the task of putting this complex play within a play on in the new space as “challenging.” She says that “our designers are excited to be able to showcase their lighting, set and costume skills, as the Crystal City venue is much more flexible and better equipped than our black box in Shirlington. We are also working with some fabulous puppet and mask designers.”
The human performers will include Mitch Irzinski, Austin Johnson, Irina Kavsadze, Kathryn Elizabeth Kelly, Dallas Tolentino, Ryan Tumulty, Emily Whitworth), and Jessica Wilson. Lilia Slavova, who adapted the story for the Synetic production, directs, and Irakli Kavsadze serves as choreographer. Puppets are by puppet master Vanya Vasileva. The score will feature the familiar Tchaikovsky music, Beethovan and other classical composers.
The Nutcracker opens December 11th. The Crystal City venue features free parking next door to the Marriott (the ‘Arena Stage’ parking sign has yet to be updated), is accessible from the Crystal City metro stop without going outdoors and has nearby child-friendly restaurants including the Synetic-recommended King Street Blues and Hamburger Hamlet.
The production does not signal a permanent move for Synetic Family Theater to Crystal City. “Our next show, The Magic Paintbrush, will be back in Shirlington,” Qarnain concluded.