In our household we have various annual traditions; one of them is putting on our own production of the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker.
Every year at Christmas time this little 30 minute show takes place in the living room of our house. The cast is made up of four people, me and my three younger siblings Hamish, Clare and Nora. Our Mom is our stage manager and our Dad is our set designer and maker.
Casting the production is always a fun challenge because of course people don’t want to be the same roles over and over again. Even if they were perfect in a certain part they don’t want to play it again. The exception to this is my brother who is always happy to perform the part of the Nutcracker.
Every year casting is always done in early September and we always try to start rehearsals around that time too. One challenge for us is that our dance school starts casting and rehearsing for their Nutcracker at the same time–and we are also in that production. The ballet school’s Nutcracker takes priority from October to December and then we pick ours back up again in the middle of December. At that point in time we have to start rushing to get our show choreographed and polished. On top of that we also make programs, costumes, hair pieces, backdrops, shortened versions of the music, props and treats for the intermission.
However, when it is finally ready to go it is definitely worth all the hard work that is put into it. But I must say that it would definitely not be the wonderful show that it is without the help of Mummy and Daddy. They do so much for us and our show every Christmas.
Our first show is always given to our grandparents and our uncle on Boxing Day. Despite our intention of it being a show it always turns out more as a dress rehearsal. Then we fix it up and perform it to various other people such as our dance teachers our next door neighbours and our music teacher. Every year the Artistic Director of our dance school, Mrs. Bouman, comes to watch the show. Our audience can be at the maximum five people so we wind up doing a lot of shows. This is because the audience sits in our playroom where we store the living room furniture during the show. This makes the space quite small.
One good thing about doing our own Nutcracker is the immediate feedback that we get from the audience afterwards. It’s always nice to get comments (both positive and negative).
As we wrapped up our fourth annual production I decided that I wanted to make the fifth year perfect, but it already is such a charming production that I don’t think it needs anything more.