Mark Morris Dance Group: The Hard Nut - Detroit Opera

OVERVIEW

Not your usual Nutcracker

 

Set to Tchaikovsky’s beloved music (with live orchestra), Mark Morris Dance Group’s The Hard Nut is a beloved retro-modern reimagining of The Nutcracker, which channeled the warm spirit of this holiday tradition into the swinging 70’s with “fun and amazement dance in the same step” (The New York Times).

What holiday season would be complete without go-go boots, dancing G.I. Joes, gender-bending snowflakes, and a spirited, slightly out-of-control family Christmas party? Mark Morris’ The Hard Nut, “as gleefully irreverent as it is visually poetic and musically sensitive” (Dance Magazine), comes to Detroit with all that and more.

 


 

PRESS

“The Hard Nut is not a deconstruction of “The Nutcracker.” Nor is it a parody. It is instead a thoroughly American ballet, so refreshingly contemporary that it suddenly makes everything that came before it look outdated.” – The Times Union

“Morris has an ability and an agility in getting inside of a musical score and mapping the notes onto the dancers’ bodies.”… “It is a boldly perfected masterpiece, full of comic-book hilarity. Morris clearly knows how to make people laugh, and he knows how to be entertaining without being facile.” – TheaterWeek

“It seemed naughtier and more enchanting than ever…This is a ‘Hard Nut’ worth cracking.” – New York Post

“…this work is profoundly faithful to the essential elements of The Nutcracker: its joy, and its keen sense of the fantastical and the wondrous.” – Dance Enthusiast

“You’ve Never Seen A ‘Nutcracker’ Quite Like This Before” – The Huffington Post

“The party scene is a raucous delight, but there are moments of incandescent beauty, too, including the snow scene, in which dancers throw glittery stuff; and the tender, romantic pas de deux.” – The New York Times

“Morris’ secret is that whatever else he is doing, he never forgets the music and he never forgets that the most important thing is to express joy.” – Bachtrack

FAST FACTS

Based on the book by E.T.A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

Production based on the work of Charles Burns

Mark Morris Dance Group
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker, Op. 71
Conductor: Colin Fowler
Choreographer: Mark Morris
Set Designer: Adrianne Lobel
Costume Designer: Martin Pakledinaz
Lighting Designer: James F. Ingalls

Run Time: Approx. 2 hours with intermission

Synopsis

Act I

Dr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum’s annual Christmas Eve Party. Their children Fritz, Marie and Louise wait in the den. Party dances: polka, hokey-pokey, hesitation, stroll, bump, waltz. Friend of the family Drosselmeier brings animated toys that he’s made. He gives a Nutcracker to the children. Fritz breaks it. The children fight. Dr. Stahlbaum changes the subject. The guests go home. The family goes to bed. The housekeeper cleans up.
Marie can’t sleep and comes downstairs to see if the Nutcracker is resting comfortably. At midnight she is frightened by rats. Everything in the room grows to giant size. G.I. Joes led by the Nutcracker battle rats led by the mutant Rat King. Marie kills the Rat King with her slipper. She falls unconscious. The Nutcracker is transformed into a young man. Marie is tucked in. A worried Drosselmeier makes his way through the blizzard.

curtain

Act II

Marie is in a fever. Drosselmeier comes to see if Marie is resting comfortably and tells her one of his stories:

THE HARD NUT

Once upon a time a King and a Queen had a beautiful baby girl named Pirlipat. The Queen’s old enemy the Rat Queen threatened to ruin little Pirlipat. The nurse and the cat were left to guard the baby at night. While the nurse and cat slept, the Rat Queen destroyed Princess Pirlipat’s face. The Royal Family was horrified by the sight of their formerly beautiful daughter. The Rat Queen explained that the Princess would regain her beauty only after a young man cracked the hard nut, Krakatuk, with his teeth and stepped backwards seven times. The King commanded Drosselmeier to find the hard nut or face decapitation. Drosselmeier set off in search of the hard nut. He traveled the world for fifteen years before finding it back at home.
The ugly teenage Pirlipat watched as one young man after another attempted to crack the hard nut. The last one to try was Drosselmeier’s own nephew. He succeeded. On his seventh step backward he stepped on the Rat Queen, killing her. Pirlipat became beautiful and rejected the young Drosselmeier as he started to become ugly – like a nutcracker…
At this point Marie interrupts the story and offers her love to young Drosselmeier. Mrs. Stahlbaum acknowledges her daughter’s new maturity with a flower dance. Everyone in the world joins Marie and young Drosselmeier in celebrating their love. The two go away together forever.

Epilogue

Louise and Fritz are sent to bed.

Videos

Sponsors

Season Sponsor

Supported by:

Richard & Joanne Brodie
Marvin, Betty, and Joanne Danto Family Foundation
Kevin Dennis & Jeremy Zeltzer

FAST FACTS

Based on the book by E.T.A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

Production based on the work of Charles Burns

Mark Morris Dance Group
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker, Op. 71
Conductor: Colin Fowler
Choreographer: Mark Morris
Set Designer: Adrianne Lobel
Costume Designer: Martin Pakledinaz
Lighting Designer: James F. Ingalls

Run Time: Approx. 2 hours with intermission

Sponsors

Season Sponsor

Supported by:

Richard & Joanne Brodie
Marvin, Betty, and Joanne Danto Family Foundation
Kevin Dennis & Jeremy Zeltzer