Monday, December 18, 2006

The Texas Nutcracker

Shawn and I went to see The Nutcracker yesterday. Those of you who know me well enough not only know my passion for dancing but also know that I performed in The Nutcracker twice in college. I take this ballet very seriously and it is a major part of my Christmas tradition. That being said I should have paid more attention to who was performing the version we went to see. I purchased the tickets from the local community theatre who was hosting the performance believing that one of the major ballet companies in the state would be coming here to put on the ballet. It wasn’t until I picked up the tickets that I spotted the sign that said it was being performed by one of the local dance schools. That should have been my first clue that this would be a performance I wouldn’t want to see. In Mobile, this wouldn’t have been a big deal because the Mobile Ballet always brings in professionals for the major roles and the company there is really good. Here you are dealing with girls who aren’t out of high school yet. I am not saying they were bad but they weren’t on the calibur I am used to. The second bad sign was walking into the theatre to see the sign “The Texas Nutcracker” and the oil wells painted on cloths next to the stage. I realize that I am living in a different country these days (yes, I am referring to Texas) and that Texans have their own way of doing things but there are some things that should be sacred and not messed with. The Nutcracker is one of those things. I was OK with the father in the first act wearing a bolo tie and cowboy boots. Even the uncle’s Western Magician attire was acceptable. But I had to draw the line when they turned the mice into jack rabbits and the Mouse king into a Jackalope. Then appeared Walker Texas Nutcracker galloping in to the Lone Ranger Theme Song. At that point, I realized that Peter Tchaikovsky was rolling over in his grave. Yes, they turned the Nutcracker Prince into a Texas Ranger. There is a line, people, and you have seriously crossed. Shawn probably lost most of the circulation to his left leg at that point as I squeezed it for dear life. Fortunately for me, they redeemed themselves in the second act and left the Kingdom of the Sweets fairly intact. They did however combine two different versions of the ballet and use animals to represent some countries and sweets to represent others. I have seen both ways so that was still OK. The moral of the story is…it is worth the drive and the extra money to see The Nutcracker performed in Austin by the Austin Ballet and Symphony Orchestra.

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