A Fairy Tale Of Desire and Determination
Hans Christian Andersen, was a Danish author and a writer of such plays and fairy tales that included, "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Little Mermaid", "The Nightingale", "The Snow Queen", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Little Match Girl," and "Thumbelina," were all stories of inspiration against the odds. They provided children as well as adults lessons on how to overcome life's trials and tribulations with virtue and resilience when faced with adversities.
Andersen, known for his love of bringing inanimate figures to life which can be seen in one of his earliest fairy tales, "The Tallow Candle" written about a candle feeling unappreciated in the late 1820s which brings us to another great tale in regarding an unfinished soldier's quest for happiness.
"The Steadfast Tin Soldier" is a story about the unwavering journey of a tin soldier's love for a paper ballerina he sees in a dollhouse. This enchanted tale is a holiday delight that the whole family can enjoy was Andersen's first narration that didn't consist of folk or literary storyline.
Published in the fall of 1838 which was part of the Fairy Tales Told for Children in Andersen's “The Wild Swans,” The Steadfast Soldier set the stage for Andersen to become known as the originator of fairy tales. Lookingglass Theatre brings to the stage The Steadfast Tin Soldier who is determined to reach a ballerina from the viewpoint of this tiny soldier who is being dangled high in the air by a huge childlike figure.
Originally written within The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales by Joan G. Haahr, this story is an uncommon depiction among Andersen's early tales; however, Mary Zimmerman’s new look at this adaptation of desire and in its obscurities is unique and unmistakable brilliant in its speechless approach in seeking out what we love. This play is about an hour in length and is just long enough to excite and bring joy to children that attention span changes like the wind. In a world where electronic gadgets are even in the hands of our three-year-old infants, The Steadfast Tin Soldier will engage the child in everyone, even that hard to satisfy gamer adolescent.
The original storyline of this single legged soldier which was one of several toy soldiers given to the little boy on his birthday is an essence of determination and teaches children never to give up; even if you are a bit different from others.
This play is a perfect "Tiny Tim" performance for the holidays which reminds us all to be thankful for the many blessings we have received. To be steadfast like the soldier, ever moving forward and never allowed the bad things in life stop us from being the best tin soldier the world has ever seen. The Steadfast Tin Soldier is a great example to share with your children, on how to turn a negative into a positive and when life feeds you lemons make some lemonade.
Just in front of the performers are an old-English style orchestra that nicely balances out the evening and they actually work their way into some scenes; which is textbook perfect for a Hans Christian Andersen production. The story ends with the soldier being incinerated which is not the happily ever after storyline of most tales today. It is said that Andersen’s ending was a depiction of his hyperbolic feelings of inadequacies when it came to dealing with others; which seem to end in doom and defeat. "If I would have spoken, things may have turned out better; however, life isn’t necessarily about speaking but more about being heard; especially from within." Go see the play to learn if he ever gets to meet the ballerina and how their story ends.
Let's Play ‘Highly Recommends' seeing The Steadfast Tin Soldier at The Lookingglass Theatre. It's a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season and a nice break away from all of the crowds that are sure to patronize the Magnificent Mile. You will be thankful you did!
The cast includes
Anthony Irons (Goblin)
Christopher Donahue (Nursemaid)
Kasey Foster (Ballerina)
John Gregorio (Rat)
Alex Stein (Steadfast Tin Soldier)
Lookingglass Theatre Company Presents the World Premiere of
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Conceived and Directed by Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman
From the Story by Hans Christian Andersen
November 7, 2018 – January 13, 2019
Filed under: ChicagoNow