The holiday season is here, and Lookinglass Theatre has brought back its favorite family play, The Steadfast Tin Soldier. The story about a little tin soldier who never gives up is an inspiring tale of triumph and perseverance that all children should see.
Hans Christian Andersen, writer of some of the most well known and recognized fairy tales included, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Match Girl, and Thumbelina, we're 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.
One of Andersen's early tales called "The Tallow Candle displays his love of bringing inanimate figures to life. The story tells of a candle feeling unappreciated in the late 1820s. Andersen, a decade later, brings to life The Steadfast Tin Soldier, a remarkable, timeless love story. Performed by a stellar cast, The Steadfast Tin Soldier is like a silent film on stage where movement is the main message to show the unwavering journey of a tin soldier's love for a paper ballerina he sees in a dollhouse. Published in the fall of1838 as 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.
Mary Zimmerman continuously brings a fresh perspective to this adaptation, which demonstration her unique and unmistakable brilliant to the speechless approach of puppetry. The 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 advancing each day, The Steadfast Tin Soldier is an engaging way to bring out the imagination and creativity of children of all ages.
The story is filled with animated characters and simple effects that are glitz up with new-age computer hieroglyphics, which brings you back in time when your imagination as a child was everything. You get to see the soldier tossed in a boat, chase by a gigantic rat, eaten by a massive fish, and witness his incredible determination to fight off the evil Goblin who also loved the ballerina. There even a huge animated baby that the tin soldier encounters. 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 perfect for the holidays and 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.
The actors in this speechless piece, Joe Dempsey as the Nursemaid Anthony Irons Goblin (Jack-in-the-box) movements were petrifying ghoulish; it was like looking at a real-life toy. Kasey Foster (Ballerina), John Gregorio (Rat), and Alex Stein as The Steadfast Soldier. The cast also featured an orchestra of Leandro Lopez Varady (Piano) Greg Hirte (Violin), Juan Horie (Cello), Emma Hospelhorn, and Constance Volk (Flutes).
The story ends with the soldier being incinerated, which is not the happily ever after story of most tales. Andersen was known to have felt inadequate around people, which may be his reason for the sad ending.
This quote from Andersen displays his feelings. "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." How apropos.
Let's Play 'Highly Recommends' seeing The Steadfast Tin Soldier at The Lookingglass Theatre. It's a beautiful 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!
Lookingglass Theatre Company Presents
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Director & Playwright: Mary Zimmerman
From the Story by Hans Christian Andersen
November 1, 2019–January 26, 2020
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