ACC Drama Department’s spring 2023 production was “The Snow,” a play for both children and adults. More than 500 people of all ages attended the show, which took place at the ACC Highland Campus Black Box Theater.
“The Snow” is directed by Jamie Rogers. Rogers started at ACC as an adjunct professor/instructional associate in fall 2015. Currently, Jamie is an associate professor of Drama and a teaching artist at the Georgetown Palace Theatre.
We asked Rogers a few questions to learn more about what it took to bring this story to life.
What is “The Snow” about?
When an epic snowfall imprisons the residents of the tiny village of Kishka, young Theodore Sutton proposes the villagers build a catapult to fling him and six of the village’s bravest and strongest out in search of a solution. The catapult hastily assembled, Theodore and the heroes are launched over the snow and into the grandest of adventures. Whimsical and humorous, dark and mysterious, heartfelt and sincere, this play weaves a fantastical Grimmsian tale for the entire family.
What drew you to this play?
The family play, which I expected to be light for some reason, is quite deep in what it is trying to say. About those in charge who keep doing the same thing over and over again but expecting the same results. Not listening to new ideas or new courses of direction — not listening to each other — not listening to the younger, perhaps wiser and more accepting, generation. The play (though written in 2015 with inspiration from folk and fairy tales) is frighteningly a mirror of the divisions in society that we are all experiencing. We see that played out a bit between the two villages depicted in the play.
I also appreciate how the role of Theo, the child, is front and center. We are allowed to see Theo take matters into their own hands by brainstorming decisions, making mistakes, and feeling genuine sadness at times throughout some of the play’s events. In doing so, Krucekemyer allows young audiences the chance to see themselves truly on stage and as an essential driver to the story.
I think the cast and production team (and the ACC Drama Department as a whole) understand and recognize that the play is such a wonderful and playful visual treat, with an important message about community and acceptance.
How long did it take to bring this production to life?
Close to 12 weeks. We all lost one week due to the ice storm this semester. We cast the show in fall 2022 and had a couple of rehearsals reading the script. And then, once back in the spring, began blocking/staging the play.
Which classes were involved in the making of this production?
Our Theater Practicum, Rigging and Automation, and Technical Production 1 & 2 courses.
Were there any challenges to putting on this production and, if so, how were they overcome?
This was a very challenging play! The initial reading of the script is both thrilling and terrifying at first. The play has wonderful sequences such as the catapult scene, the bird (and even bird poop), the darkness sequences, the yeast/bread explosion, etc. The play tells us what happens in those moments but leaves it up to us, the production team, to solve how those sequences would be accomplished visually in the black box theater. We also needed to be aware that each solution had to vary and not repeat itself. These solutions range from animation sequences, shadow puppets, the bird as an actual puppet, finger puppets for the Do-Nothing Council, the Darkness being represented by fabric, the final kabuki curtain drop, a blow-up inflatable under the stage and lighting to represent bread growing in an oven, to even a ball of white slime to fall from the catwalk as bird poop! We also had original music compositions written for the play, which added so much to the world we all created. So, we really had creative fun as a team utilizing all of the capabilities of ACC’s new black box facility.
What was your favorite part of the show?
Every time there was a bit of theatrical magic or discovery was probably my favorite part. The set design, by Rachel Atkinson, was inspired in part by playground structures, and so not only did that give the cast and me lots of options to play on the set, but the structure also gave way to moments of transformation for the audience.
How many people came out to watch the production? What were their reactions? Did a lot of children attend?
I do not have exact numbers yet but well over 500. Post-show reactions were always positive about what a delightful story it was, how the acting ensemble was so wonderful and how the actors clearly loved telling the story, and then also how visually creative the show was.
We did have a lot of kids attend. Kids were given activity packets that they could color preshow. All of our tickets were “The Snow” character collector cards. They even had the option for special bean bag seating in the first two center rows. The show really held their attention, and they seemed to enjoy it. And the ages varied so much. They were also able to meet the characters after the show in the lobby. We were fortunate to have home-school groups attend and students from both Campbell Elementary and Connelly High School!
Anything else you’d like to share about the making of “The Snow”?
Looking back on the production, I continue to be in awe of the talented cast and creative artists on our production team that were assembled.
When will the next ACC production be?
In fall 2023, the Drama Department will offer a new associate degree in Musical Theater. That being said, we are so excited that our next production will be the musical “The Mad Ones” by Kait Kerrigan and Bree Lowdermilk. The performance will run June 8-25 at the Highland Campus Black Box Theater.
Ticket proceeds benefit the ACC Drama and Dance Scholarship Fund.
Set Design: Rachel Atkinson
Lighting Design: Channing Schreyer
Puppet Design: Caroline Reck
Photo Credit: Channing Schreyer