As much a part of the holiday season as pond hockey and mistletoe, the Nutcracker is an adventure that needs to be experienced more than once- it is a ballet that uncovers something new and wondrous with each performance!
Featured Creative Team
Galina Yordanova & Nina Menon
Michael J. Whitfield
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Christmas 1913, in a large Canadian home. It’s a prosperous time in a prosperous city whose population has swollen with new arrivals. The First World War is still half a year away.
‘Tis the night before Christmas and all through Clara’s house, everything and everyone is stirring - even the mice! The people inside are getting ready for the big Christmas party - cooking and wrapping and dressing and fussing. Outside, neighborhood boys play hockey on the street while friends and family start to arrive, carrying armloads of presents and anticipating a marvelous event.
ACT 1 - SCENE 1 - CLARA’S BEDROOM
Twelve-year-old Clara is oblivious to all the noise and confusion. She’s dreaming in front of the mirror in her bedroom, practicing her ballet steps. She wants to be perfect when she dances for her glamourous Aunt Josephine, a singer who has traveled all the way from Montreal on the train. Mama interrupts. “Where is the bow that I made for your hair?” she demands. “And where is Dieter?” Clara’s younger brother leaps out of a large armoire, brandishing a toy sword. Grandmother Marguerite finds her way to the bedroom and manages to calm everyone down. Things aren’t turning out the way Mama has planned; not even the Christmas tree has been delivered. “But Mr.Drosselmeir promised to bring a tree!” She runs off to check on things downstairs while Grandmother shows the children some favourite photographs of Christmas past.
SCENE II - THE CHRISTMAS PARTY
Mama, Papa and the butler are looking at the empty space in the big living room where the tree should be. What kind of a Christmas party is this going to be? Among the guests filling the room is Aunt Josephine. Resplendent in furs, she makes a grand entrance with her fiance, Edouard, dashing in his military uniform.
At last! Mr. Drosselmeier carries in a tree. Clara suddenly feels shy when he introduces her to his grandnephew, Julien. In no time at all, the tree is decorated and Clara has the honor of putting the star on the very top. Suddenly, the first-ever electric Christmas lights illuminate the tree! Mr. Drosselmeier hands out his presents, all enchanting. Dieter’s army of toy soldiers has now been augmented by Mounted Police. Mr. Drosselmeier’s masterpiece goes to Clara - a beautifully hand-crafted Nutcracker. During Christmas dinner, Clara slips away to admire her Nutcracker and imagines that he comes alive to dance with her. The doorbell rings and a bear scurries in, admires the tree and dances happily with the Christmas toys. The party breaks up in a flurry of dancing and silliness and romance. “Good night Everyone! Merry Christmas!”
SCENE III - BEDTIME
Clara falls asleep but is soon awakened by the terrifying Mouse King who is about to steal her beloved Nutcracker. The clock strikes midnight.
SCENE IV - THE LIVING ROOM
Moonlight shimmers through the window and the room starts to change into something strange and new. Clara finds Mr. Drosselmeier who tries to convince her that she has nothing to fear. Suddenly, before her very eyes, the room and the Christmas tree begin to grow. Clara is attacked by scurrying mice while trying to save her Nutcracker. The Nutcracker comes alive and chases the mice away. Dieter’s squadron of toy soldiers and Mounted Police are now a living regiment and battle fiercely against the menacing mice with cannons, swords and every ounce of cleverness the can muster. The battle takes a turn for the worse when Fritz is wounded and the Nutcracker is shot by the Mouse King while attempting to help Dieter.
SCENE V - A MAGICAL FOREST
Finally, Clara defeats the Mouse King and begs Mr. Drosselmeier to help her wounded Nutcracker. It’s only after Clara professes her love for Nutcracker that Mr. Drosselmeier can bring him to life again. The Nutcracker was Julien all along and he is now a handsome prince. Thy walk hand in hand into a magical pine forest, dancing under a sky filled with stars and the Northern Lights. Snow begins to fall.
ACT II - SCENE I - THE KINGDOM
The Nutcracker Prince and Clara travel to the Sugar Plum Fairy’s kingdom, where adorable little angels along with Mr. Drosselmeier help with the preparations for their arrival. The Sugar Plum Fairy gives Clara and Prince Julien a very warm welcome and an elaborate ceremony ensues to honour them. Wonderful dances from many different lands and many more delights are performed, reminding Clara of all the people arriving every day to their country. In a beautiful pas de deux, the prince has the great honour of dancing with Clara. She simply floats in time to the music. In a grand farewell gesture, all the inhabitants of the magical land gather to bid Clara a happy journey home.
SCENE II - EARLY MORNING
When Clara wakes up, she is happy to be in her own bedroom. The Nutcracker stands proudly next to her. Remembering her dream, she’s relived to see her big brother Fritz striding into the room, alive and well, and announcing, “It’s snowing!” They bundle up, go outside and watch the snow fluttering down. It was the best Christmas ever!