A Grimm Night: Media Preview of the Opening Night Performance

A Grimm Night: Media Preview of the Opening Night Performance 

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On Friday, March 31, 2023, Transcen|Dance Project kickstarted their newest production called, A Grimm Night. This was an immersive theatre-dance experience inspired by fairy tales from The Brothers Grimm. Drawing major inspiration from the pioneering Punchdrunk theatre companyA Grimm Night was far from your typical night at the theatre. In immersive theatre, the audience is thrown directly into the play. The stage is gone, and the fourth wall is broken. It’s up to the guests to piece together their own experience of the narrative as they travel through the space and converse with the actors. The site for this performance was The Great Hall, a historic venue full of Industrial Age charm, crystal chandeliers, and gilded columns.
Below are the highlights from the VIP opening night performance:

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his Whole Building Is Our Storybook
Upon arrival, guests or ‘immersants’ received masquerade masks, tiny drink tickets in vials, and invitations in wax seals. Right at 7:00 pm, there was the Master of Ceremonies (Clayton Gray), who did a fantastic job of setting the tone for the experience that awaited us. </span
He invited the audience to open their invitations at the same time, which directed them to one of three locations to begin their viewing. After following the directions on the invitations, they were welcomed to either stay in that one place or wander throughout the building.
There were three main locations for immersants to venture: the Enchanted Forest in the basement, the Main Hall, and the Boudoirs in the upper balcony. Every corner of The Great Hall displayed a remarkable eye for detail and commitment to immersion. The railings of the staircase leading to the basement were draped in ivy, fairy light, and flower petals. Prince Charming‘s boudoir was lush, elegant, and tidy, absolutely befitting for a royal bachelor. In the Enchanted Forest, the trees were decorated with shiny paper butterflies, which contained handwritten messages upon closer inspection. The entire creative team behind the production did a fantastic job in creating such a beautiful and intricate world for the performance.The Stories and Their Characters
The storylines were loosely based on The Brothers Grimm‘s version of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. They were orchestrated to overlap with each other, not really knowing when one story ended and the other began. The stories and their characters weren’t confined to any specific area either. Each performer appeared to follow their own routes throughout the venue. 
In the Main Hall, the performance opened with the lovely Rose (Sarah MacDonald) playfully dancing with her team of fairies (Tyler Angell, Dana MacDonald, and Evan Webb). All four of them were absolutely breathtaking to watch. Their dynamic was sweet, their makeup was sparkly, and their skills as dancers were undeniable. Suddenly, the lights dimmed to a dark purple, the music slowed, and the mood quickly changed to a nightmare. Out of the darkness, a dark, shadowy, cloaked figure appeared. It was the Evil Queen, played by Sam Darius. He was ready to crash the party and place a curse on Rose. The fight scene in the Enchanted Forest between The Evil Queen, the fairies, and Prince Phillip (Jack Rennie) was wickedly intense and suspenseful. Shout out to the fight choreographer and fight captain, Colleen Snell and Jack Rennie. That fight scene alone was worth the price of admission!
When Rose and her fairy team flitted out of the Main Hall, the dashing Prince Charming (Tyler Gledhill) entered the room. His arrival represented the start of the Cinderella storyline. The pas-de-trois between Prince Charming and Cinderella‘s two wicked stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella (Martha Hart and Jazzmin James), was beautiful. The way Prince Charming tossed the two stepsisters to the side upon seeing Cinderella (Kelly Shaw) was brilliant and hilarious acting. The chemistry between Prince Charming and Cinderella was off the charts, especially during their ballet duets. Legendary prima ballerina (Evelyn Hart) was fantastic as Cinderella‘s scheming stepmother, Agatha, who hid behind the guests while spying on the dancing couple.
There was also a deer-like dancer called The Creature, who playfully interacted with the immersants, piquing their curiosity and encouraging them to follow her throughout the venue. There was a delightful moment of the night where The Creature danced with one of the immersants in Agatha’s boudoir.
Another enjoyable aspect of the evening was the production’s commitment to staying true to the Brothers Grimm‘s editions of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. All praise goes to Yulia Kinshakova, the production’s costume designer, for staying true to the stories by putting Cinderella in a silver and gold gown. In the same story, the Brothers Grimm included the part where Anastasia sliced off her heel in order to fit into Cinderella‘s slipper. Fun fact: in the Brothers Grimm edition, Cinderella‘s slipper was made of silk and silver, not glass. During the performance, Anastasia was seen bringing the knife to the back of her left foot as she proceeded to cut her heel off. There was no spilled blood, but the way she hobbled and collapsed onto the floor in sheer pain without screaming was emoting at its finest.

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