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‘Into The Woods’ is powerful and energetic

‘Into The Woods’ is powerful and energetic

By Rebecca Goldfarb

Section: Arts

March 23, 2018

The Department of Theater Arts’ performance of “Into The Woods” was powerful, emotional and energetic. The show, which ran from March 16 to 18 in the Spingold Theater, showcased incredible student talent and the hard work of directors Maurice Parent and Kelli Edwards.

The tale of Into the Woods weaves together many classic fairytales, from Cinderella to Jack and the Beanstalk. The characters are all on a journey of some kind, their paths and stories intersecting throughout the play.

In this rendition, the play opened with the narrator, played by Rodrigo Alfaro Garcia Granados ’18, wandering around his attic, marvelling at family relics. Garcia Granados finds a storybook in the attic which he sits down to read. As he begins to tell the story, the beginning of the beloved play comes to life in front of his eyes and the audience. The production suggests this narrator is a descendant of the Baker, a character in the play. It was a unique take on the traditional story that added a thoughtful layer to the story.

The opening number introduces each character as they head “into the woods.” This particular song was a highlight of the performance, with the entire company singing and the dynamics leading to a crescendo. Repetition of the line “to see, to sell, to get, to bring” punctuated the song before the cast’s confident ending, “Into the woods, Then out of the woods, And home before dark!”

The show itself was well-cast, each performer fitting right into their role. The Baker, played by Justin Chimoff ’20, had strong vocal technique. He and his stage wife (Adina Jacobson ’20) had great stage chemistry during their performance. The fictional couple longs for a child and their quest is to lift a witch’s curse that prevents them from having a baby.

Rebecca Myers ’18 portrays the witch who sends them into the woods. Myers’ portrayal of the witch was absolutely incredible, and she stole the show with her authoritative vocals and commanding stage presence.

One great aspect of this particular musical is that there is not one main character. Each characters has their own story and goals. Tova Weinberger ’18 gave an amazing performance as the naive Little Red Riding who eventually finds her courage.

Alongside Little Red is her granny, played by Leah Chanen ’20, who delivers a funny, energetic performance and the wolf, played by Ben Astrachan ’19. Astrachan, who also portrays Cinderella’s prince, does an excellent job at changing his tone and movement for each of the characters to make them distinct.

Casey Schryer ’21, as Cinderella, had a pure and angelic vocal quality, especially in her solo, “No One Is Alone.” Cinderella’s stepmother (Lily Bickerstaff Richard ’20), her stepsisters, Lucinda (Emily Bisno ’19), Florinda (Patricia Cordischi ’18) and her father (Nathan Schneider ’18), provide well-executed comic relief in each of their appearances.

Also caught up in the plot is the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, featuring the mischievous Jack, (Seth Wulf ’21) and his mother (Kaitlin Cavallo ’21). Wulf’s performance was youthful and spirited, while Cavallo portrays an overprotective mother aspiring to live a better life. Both Wulf and Cavallo delivered impressive vocals. Rapunzel, played by Halley Geringer ’19, played a sweet damsel in distress, delivering a phenomenal vocal range. Rapunzel’s Prince, Zain Walker ’18, really brought out his strong singing technique in his duet with Astrachan on the song and its reprise, “Agony.”

The technical features of the show are also worth noting. The set was simple but built to incorporate items found in the attic from the opening scene, with the trees made of large lamps, coat racks and shoes. The body of Jack’s cow was a bike, seen originally in the attic. The paper birds that appeared on the end of a stick throughout the play can been seen in the opening scene as well, helping to create a beautiful set design. The costumes were also well-made and striking, from the ordinary village outfits to the extravagant outfit ensembles of the royalty.

While the show had some minor sound issues with occasional negative feedback from the mics, its overall sound was great. The show was long, at a duration of over three hours, but the musical captured my interest for the whole time, not allowing for any dull moments.

Even on a Sunday afternoon, having performed all weekend long, the cast maintained their energy. The production of “Into The Woods” was an excellent presentation of Brandeis talent.

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