4/24/2014 9:35:49 AM

A Student's Perspective: The Snow Queen

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

By Kristen Bossio '16

When I came to Siena College, I never thought that I would be part of a world premiere, but that is exactly what is happening now that I’m performing in The Snow Queen.

The Snow Queen is a new play with music based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a girl who travels barefoot in search of her childhood friend who has been abducted by the Snow Queen. The story is told in seven episodes, each detailing a different part of the young girl’s journey. Her journey will unfold on stage for the first time at Siena College.

I’m just a sophomore, but this is my third show here at Siena. Much like the play’s story, being part of The Snow Queen’s production has been a journey on its own, and I’ve been learning a lot.

As a cast, we have gotten access to the people who have transformed The Snow Queen from an interesting thought to a theatrical production. We’ve been interacting directly with writer Barbara Wiechmann, composer Lisa Dove and director and dramaturge Jeff Mousseau.

Along with talent, I’ve learned that being part of a world premiere requires patience and flexibility. The script that we used at our first table read is not the same script that you’ll see performed on opening night. New music could be inserted and lines could be changed at any point in the process. The Snow Queen has never been performed before, so there have been many changes made, but I’m certain that they’re leading to the creation of a better play.

From a technical standpoint, getting the show up and running requires working from the ground up.

For at least the first month of rehearsal, we worked offstage in Foy Hall classrooms. The set was taped out on the floor so we knew where everything was, but we weren’t able to use any of the actual pieces because they had not been built. This happens with every show, but The Snow Queen has so many moving pieces, that working downstairs was dramatically different from performing in the theatre.

We eventually moved into theatre, but The Snow Queen still wasn’t ready for primetime. The set was still being built around us and the show’s content was still a work in progress.

We worked with just a keyboard for a couple weeks until we had the full orchestra. Last weekend, we introduced a variety of new elements, including video projections, shadow puppet cut-outs, sound, lights and costumes. It’s incredible to see the whole show come together as one, instead of many separate pieces of a puzzle.

As actors, we too were pieces that didn’t fit together, until recently.

At the beginning, we rehearsed scene-by-scene. I only appear in two scenes, so although I understood them very well, I didn’t know how the whole story fell together. I didn’t find out until a few weeks ago when we did our first run-through of the entire show. Everyone in the cast was finally able to understand and appreciate the story that we collectively are trying to tell.

I’ve never taken voice lessons or been part of a chorus, so there was a great deal of opportunity for learning and growth. Many cast members have been singing for years, so I observed a lot from them.

Our music director, Assistant Professor of Creative Arts Timothy Reno, DMA, helped me feel more comfortable with singing and was patient when it took me a little longer than others to consistently hit the right note.

Being part of The Snow Queen has been a unique experience. It’s been fun, stressful, eye-opening, challenging, frustrating, tiring, energizing and entertaining. After all, it’s theatre. Most of all, it’s been rewarding to see the hard work of the cast and crew pay-off in this brand new vision.

What once was a series of incomplete parts has now come together into a complete show, and although I’m still a little nervous that I’ll sing the wrong note during a performance, I’m mostly excited to share what we’ve been working on with the Siena College community and the public.

Dates and Times: The world premiere of The Snow Queen will be performed on November 14 – 16 at 8 p.m., November 17 at 2 p.m., and November 21 – 23 at 8 p.m. 

The Snow Queen is written by Barbara Wiechmann, composed by Lisa Dove, with direction and dramaturgy by Jeff Mousseau. Music Direction by Timothy Reno. The cast features Sean Baldwin, Andrea Boraski, Kristen Bossio, Sandy Boynton, Ryan Davis, Julie Feeney, Petros Lilikas, Eric Neuls, Kellyrose Marry, Shayne Peris, Audrey Sabatini, Emily Scimeca, Matthew Tenorio, and Patrick White. Stage Managed by Marybeth Condon, with Assistant Stage Managers Maiya Kasprzyk, Morgan Schnackertz, and Talia Soto. The full program is available here

Click here to read a blog documenting the process through pictures and video.



Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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