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Background info about the stories and themes of ArtReach's plays
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Curious about ArtReach's THE NUTCRACKER PRINCE?
Follow Your Heart to a Happy Ending!

 August 9, 2018 

The Nutcracker Prince is a dramatic adaptation of the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.   The story was the basis for the beloved Christmas ballet scored by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky that has been delighting children and their families for decades.  Now ArtReach has adapted the story for a large cast of kids to perform.

As the play begins, Storytellers welcome the cast to their small village which is preparing for a very special holiday.  It is Christmas and the snow is falling.  Clara and her brother Fritz are having fun playing with the snow and throwing snowballs when Uncle Drosselmeyer appears to greet them.  He is a kindly and beloved man who provides them with surprises each Christmas.  Back at home, Clara’s parents are preparing for Christmas Eve.  There is a magnificent tree and also the gift of a magical gingerbread castle.  When Uncle Drosselmeyer shows up he has gifts for the children.   First he gives Fritz a set of toy soldiers.  For Clara, Drosselmeyer has a special Nutcracker doll.  Clara’s cat Shadow is afraid of the doll but Clara loves it.  Fritz tries to crack nuts with the doll and breaks it.  Drosselmeyer assures Clara that the Nutcracker will get well and puts the doll underneath the tree.  Everyone agrees it has been a lovely Christmas Eve and they all depart for a good night’s sleep. 

Clara worries about her doll and creeps downstairs to check on him.  She introduces him to her other dolls, Mother Ginger and Katarina.  Before she goes back to bed, Clara kisses the Nutcracker.  Little does she know that the kiss has broken a spell!  The Nutcracker and the dolls now come to life and we are plunged into the make believe world of Clara’s dream.

A battalion of ruffian Mice appears with the mission of finding better food than they are used to getting in the house.  They have set their sights on the gingerbread castle.  The Nutcracker Prince takes charge of the castle’s defense calling all the toy soldiers to battle.  He dispatches them to the far reaches of the house to defend against the enemy.  Suddenly the Rat King appears and he is surrounded by his adoring Mice.

The Rat King is determined to get at the castle but just as he approaches, Nutcracker comes out of hiding and draws his sword, setting off a battle between the Mice and the Soldiers.  The Rat King is defeated and dies an elaborate death.  The Mice carry him away.

Everyone cheers for Clara and the Nutcracker explains that she has broken his spell.  He invites her to the wonderful Land of Sweets.  Clara and Shadow join the Nutcracker Prince on a thrilling journey through the castle doors and on to a land of enchantment.

The Sugar Plum Fairy is preparing for Clara’s arrival by directing the Snowflakes to decorate the Land with sugary snow.  When she arrives, Clara sees that everything is made of candy.  The Flowers appear and direct the audience in the art of filling the Land with flowers.  The Sugar Plum Fairy tells Clara that she is now their Princess.  The Nutcracker Prince asks her to stay with them.

Clara Follows her Heart to a Happy Ending!
Clara and the Nutcracker Prince The Nutcracker play for kids to perform!

Just as Clara is about to answer, the Mice come marching into the Land of Sweets.  The Rat King appears to them and explains that he was never really dead.  Clara’s cat Shadow has been enjoying her stay in the Land of Sweets and suddenly confronts the Rat King with a terrifying roar and hiss!   The Rat King did not expect to defend himself from a cat!  Shadow advances on the Rat King and the Mice until she and the others drive them away.

Everyone cheers for Shadow and now it is time for Clara to make her decision.  Will she stay in the Land of Sweets forever?   Though she loves the Nutcracker Prince and everyone in the beautiful Land, Clara tells them that she wants to grow up to be a woman.  Therefore, she must go home.  The sadness of her choice causes the dolls and make-believe characters to go back to the original state as inanimate toys.  Clara calls out for her Nutcracker Prince as the dream begins to fade and she wakes up.

It is Christmas morning and Uncle Drosselmeyer is there to show her that the Nutcracker doll has been repaired.  Fritz has been imagining a wonderful battle with his toy soldiers.  He describes a battle that sounds a lot like the one in Clara’s dream.  Clara tries to tell the grownups of her wondrous journey.  But no one believes her.  She dances with the Nutcracker and remembers her Prince...

The Storytellers bring us back to the small village and everyone dances in celebration of another special Christmas Day.

"The nutcracker sits under the holiday tree, a guardian of childhood stories. Feed him walnuts and he will crack open a tale...”
Vera Nazarian
The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Jack and the Beanstalk is Fun with Giants!
Let's Talk About Famous Giants!

Get your kids talking about the big stuff!  Can they think of any other big characters/giants in books, movies or TV?  Discuss the personality of the most well-known giants.  If you were a giant, would you be good or bad?

Jack’s Giant: Often the first concept of a giant children are exposed to, nearly everyone knows the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. The story’s origin is somewhat murky, with some scholars pointing to early Norse tales. There are dozens of different versions of the story, but most include Jack climbing a magic beanstalk to steal golden treasure and, eventually, murder the giant that lives at the top, thus living happily ever after.

Bigfoot: The Bigfoot, or the Sasquatch, is an animal which might exist but for which little to no scientific evidence exists. Described as ‘ape-like’, this ‘missing link’ stands well over six feet tall, prowling the wilds of America, particularly the Pacific Northwest. Often the only clue left behind by the Bigfoot are the enormous impressions of his feet, many of which – if they are fake – are extremely realistic hoaxes.

Fee! Fie! Foe! FUN!
Old Dan Tucker Jack and the Beanstalk!  School Play Musical for Children to Perform! Little Kids become Giants!
Jack and the Beanstalk!  School Play Musical for Children to Perform!

Paul Bunyan:  First documented in the stories bandied about by French-Canadians, Paul Bunyan is a giant lumberjack. A larger than life character in the tradition of many such tall tales, Paul played a role in various creation myths, such as dragging his axe behind him to cleave out the Grand Canyon. Bunyan is always accompanied by his pet, a blue ox named Babe, of equal enormity. Giant statues of Paul and Babe have become a roadside staple in dozens of towns around America.

Frankenstein: The monster, which remains nameless throughout Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, is described as being eight feet tall and clad in transparent yellow skin, hideous beyond comprehension. Victor Frankenstein tacks his beast together out of spare parts taken from graveyards and slaughterhouses, and he is forced to make it huge because of the inherent difficulty of replicating the tiny, intricate parts of the human body.

Jolly Green Giant: The mascot of the Green Giant vegetable company (a subsidiary of General Mills), the Jolly Green Giant has been the subject of innumerable television commercials, concluding with his trademark "Ho ho ho.” Upon his debut in 1928, the giant was a stooped, menacing creature, but subsequent versions have been increasingly genial, adopting a frock of leaves and an always present grin.

Goliath: Arguably the most famous of all giants, Goliath was a massive Philistine warrior who faced off against the Israelite army in the Valley of Elah. Offering to defeat any Israeli in one-on-one combat, Goliath was rebuffed, until the challenge was taken up by young David. Eschewing armor, the smaller combatant knocked Goliath down with a stone hurled from his sling, securing victory for the Israelites and proving himself, by his valor and faith in God, to be the one true king.

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