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Congealed Emotions Shattered

September 14, 2014


Red Like Snow (by Nicholas Rose, and Aerial Segard) takes a look at the human psyche pushed to its limits. RLS examines what happens when a group of strangers and friends are put in the ultimate of untenable positions, an ice cave buried on the side of Mount Rainier.

RLS begins by killing the stage lights on a beautifully sculpted and painted background of ice. Cold blue lights push back the darkness, giving way to a colder, harsher white light. The stage is full of bodies, how many are alive, and how many didn’t make it? How many won’t make it through this ordeal is a question you find yourself asking as the events unfold. Who will break first, who loses hope, who snaps? That’s the well crafted Drama about to unfold on stage at the BRICK HOUSE THEATRE.

RLS is a thriller, like all thrillers, one mustn’t give away too much. I can however talk about the themes Nicholas and Aerial were able to bring to the stage with the help of their wonderful cast. Grief being a main theme that runs throughout the entire performance. Not the simple sobbing grief one sees on screen, in an over acted movie. Cold gritty, palpable grief. Each character goes through the full arc of the Kübler-Ross model of grief. While going through each stage, it’s clear that specific characters represent one stage more so than the others.10699050_619947146502_522760828_n

Ryan (Ioanna Meli) clearly exhibits DENIAL. She can’t accept what has happened to her, and her friend. She’ll do anything to make it stop. Make the pain stop, make the world stop, make this tragedy stop. She even dips into ANGER at times. Tyler (Matt McVay) personifies ACCEPTENCE almost from the beginning. He knows they are up a river without a paddle, or rather at the bottom of a cave without any climbing gear. Alex (Aerial Segard) will BARGAIN with anyone and anything to make sure everyone is safe, she just wants this ordeal to end. Mark (Devon Todd) and Monica (Melissa Graver) are ANGRY, at each other, at their situation, at themselves. They aren’t having any of this. Bradley (Michael Lewis Hudson) and Jenna (Chisten Briele) and both DEPRESSED, with Jenna showing strong signs of DENIAL.

RLS also deals with loss, loss of control, loss of self, loss of the will to live, and finally loss of life. Each character travels through a complex mix of emotions, while touching back on their key emotion. Moving through emotions, while remaining true to a touchstone, a core emotion is a sign of a well written script, and strong acting. The direction (Nicholas Rose) and use of space on a small stage with at times seven actors was pulled of quite nicely. Out of necessity for the size of the stage the actors naturally had to huddle near each other at times. This served to add a layer of claustrophobia to the scenes. They were after all trapped in a freezing cavern. Besides being pressed for space, they would have to stay near for survival alone.

10647625_619947151492_1439180934_nThere were a few physical acting issues that can pull you out of the story, in the beginning at least. The entire Play takes place in an ice cave, with people who just fell what seems like a hundred feet or more. Their movements weren’t sluggish from the onset, their dexterity and control of their hands was a bit too fluid. If you’re freezing you wouldn’t be able to open bags, crawl rapidly, and manipulate rope so easily. Nor would you take off your gloves to assemble a tent. As the story progressed and each character picked up the weight of their own afflictions, body and mind, they took ownership of their bodies. Mark did an excellent job of hiding the loss of function on his hand due to frost bite. Alex had the nervous tension of someone carrying too heavy a burden. Jenna was sick with worry, and Tyler was just plain sick from trauma. Towards the end of the Play each actor was a master of their body, and their portrayal of their individual struggle was painted on their respective living canvases.

Writing, and performing a story, that seems so familiar to the human experience, while breathing new life into it isn’t easy. The good folks who brought Red Like Snow to life were able to do just this. Hikers lost and trapped on a snowy mountain seem like a well used story. It is, but Rose, Segard, and their cast pull it off in a unique way that makes it stand apart from previous versions of the story. It’s like an old fairy tale, we all know the ending, but sometimes it’s the journey and the narrator that make it special.


Red Like Snow (Written by Nicholas Rose, and Aerial Segard, Directed by Nicholas Rose) shows at the BRICK HOUSE THEATRE through September 14th.

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