Monday, August 21, 2017

SNOW WHITE • Equally Represented Arts

ERA’s Snow White, presented as the local headliner for this year’s St. Lou Fringe Festival, showcases the unconventional whimsy that the company has become known for. Developed and adapted by ERA’s artistic director Lucy Cashion and the company’s ensemble, this new full-length play is culled from Walt Disney’s Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, the original Grimm fairy tale, and Donald Barthelme’s novel, Snow White -- a post-modern take on the tale. Along the way we meet a vengeful stepmother, a truth-dispensing mirror named Hogo, a high-minded prince, a girl with an aversion to mirrors and apples, and seven men in work jumpsuits, but in classic ERA fashion, it’s all presented with a collage of eccentric ideas and shrewd observations running alongside. The examination of identity, and the internal and external influences on identity, shine through in offbeat fragments.

Snow White’s Biological Mother (Katy Keating).
Photo credit: Meredith LaBounty
Snow White’s Biological Mother is our narrator, played with spot-on cheek by Katy Keating, sporting a thick German dialect, while Snow White (Julia Crump) is completely disenchanted, bored with her daily routine. The seven men she lives with include their ambitious leader Bill (Mitch Eagles), political, cowboy hat-wearing Clem (Alex Fyles), Edward (Anthony Kramer), Henry, the diligent note-taker (Carl Overly Jr.), afro-picking Kevin (Reginald Pierre), Hubert (Gabe Taylor) and Dan (Pete Winfrey). These guys provide their own musings on how they see and how they’re seen, and this group of committed actors are never divorced from their individual, instinctual drives (The examination of identity is particularly exemplified in Kevin’s reflections as an African-American, very nicely done by Pierre). Maggie Conroy is delightfully evil as Jane, the Wicked Stepmother, living in awe of her own malice, longing for the good old days, and breaking the fourth wall at one point to educate and taunt the audience.
Snow White (Julia Crump), Dan (hidden, Pete Winfrey),
Clem (Alex Fyles), Bill (Mitch Eagles),
Kevin (Reginald Pierre), Edward (Anthony Kramer),
Hubert (Gabe Taylor) and Henry (Carl Overly Jr.).
Photo credit: Meredith LaBounty
The Mirror is Hogo de Bergerac (voiced by Randy Brachman), who tells hard truths to those who find themselves before him, presented with a clever little set-up involving some voice-over work and a projector with pre-recorded pieces by the actors. Then there’s Paul the Prince, played with giddy energy by Will Bonfiglio. He’s lofty but lazy, and eventually becomes a monk, content to gaze at Snow White from afar.

The show is peppered with ERA’s trademark choreography, notably in an interpretation of Snow White’s cleaning methods with the ensemble in the back following her lead. There’s also a sexy little number about fruit salad with the men, with the onlookers offering the kind of comments you’d read on a recipe website. You really have to see it for yourself. In fact, it’s the kind of show you’ll probably want to see twice.

Snow White (Julia Crump).
Photo credit: Meredith LaBounty
Snow White is playing until the 26th on the Schlafly MainStage at the Grandel Theatre. Check it out!

• With a running time of just under 2 hours with no intermission, be sure to visit the bathroom before you take your seat.

• Heigh-Ho!


Developed and adapted by ERA
Directed by Lucy Cashion
Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square
through August 26 | tickets: $25
Performances Thursday August 24 at 7:30pm, and Saturday August 26 at 7:30pm

Paul (Will Bonfiglio).
Photo credit: Meredith LaBounty
Paul (the Prince): Will Bonfiglio
Hogo (the Mirror): Randy Brachman
Jane (the Wicked Stepmother): Maggie Conroy
Snow White: Julia Crump
Snow White’s Biological Mother: Katy Keating
The Secretary of State: Joe Taylor

The Seven Men
Bill: Mitch Eagles
Clem: Alex Fyles
Edward: Anthony Kramer
Henry: Carl Overly Jr.
Kevin: Reginald Pierre
Hubert: Gabe Taylor
Dan: Pete Winfrey

Jane (Maggie Conroy).
Photo credit: Meredith LaBounty
Assistant Director & Stage Manager: Gabe Taylor
Assistant Stage Manager: Jimmy Bernatowicz
Composer & Video Director: Joe Taylor
Costume Designer: Marcy Wiegert 
Lighting Designer: Shannon Tinsley
Graphic Designer: Hanna Park

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