Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Peter and the Wolf Slash Nutcracker

Last week The Canadian and I went to the theater with his parents to see Oliver! It was so good that my mother-in-law is now on a theater kick. Tonight she took my sister-in-law, Sarah, and I to see Peter and the Wolf. I thought this was a grand idea; girls night for dinner and a show. It makes me feel cultured.

Who here thinks Peter and the Wolf is a play? (raising hand) I do!

It wasn't. I don't know why I was surprised. I knew that the show was put on by Symphony New Brunswick. I knew that some guy everyone was excited about was narrating. But still, I was surprised when we took our seats and realized that the stage was filled with an orchestra. No biggie, these are my people. After all, I did play the violin during elementary and middle school. I did Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings like no one's business.

Turns out that Peter and the Wolf is a symphony written by a Russian composer to prove the music is exciting.

But then I was confused again when the playbill said Peter and the Wolf and The Nutcracker

There's going to be ballet too?  I was lost. So, I sat back and enjoyed.

The show began with a Christmas song.

Then the guy everyone was excited about came on the stage. He was wearing blue jeans, boots, a red vest covered in pins over a blue plaid flannel, and a paper hat (think old school butcher / the deli man / The Varsity). Can you see the cone shaped hat in the bottom left corner?

His name is Marshall Button and his alter-ego is Lucien. Lucien is a millworker from Northern New Brunswick. He speaks a mix of French and English, that no one really understands. Basically, Canada's version of Jeff Foxworthy or Larry the Cable Guy.

I didn't catch most of the narration, as it was French, but what little English I caught was quite funny. The irony of a redneck Canadian backed by a professional orchestra was hysterical in and of itself.

He explained that the flute represented the birds, the oboe was the duck, the bassoon was the bear, the clarinet was the cat, the horns were the wolf and the strings were Peter. In his redneck/French way he described what all the characters were thinking, from Lucien's perspective. It was pretty funny.

When that was over we grabbed some water at intermission and settled back in out seats for the second act.

Lucien was gone and The Nutcracker appeared. Minus the ballet.

I didn't recognize the first song. But I knew that Dance of the Sugar Plum Ferries was coming up. I recognized the second song and assumed it was the Sugar Plum Ferries. I glanced at my playbill and realized that the Sugar Plum Ferries were the third song...or something close. I must have been mistaken. I recognized the third song, obviously. But then I knew the fourth song too and was sure the playbill was wrong; that was the Sugar Plum Ferries. This went on and on. Turns out I don't know what The Dance of the Sugar Plum Ferries sounds like. I just assume that all familiar Nutcracker songs must be the Sugar Plum Ferries. Candy canes, gum drops, who can tell? Apparently, I have not a cultured bone in my body.

Either way, by the end of the night I felt like I had ordered the sampler off the symphony's appetizer menu. A little Christmas, a little Russian, a little was delicious. 

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