WEST COAST PREMIERE! “Maybe next time we’ll have a different story.” ROSE AND THE RIME tells the tragic and magical story of the frozen town of Radio Falls. When Uncle Roger reveals to young Rose the truth about her parents, Rose sets off to find the mysterious Rime Witch. What follows is a stark transformation of the town and its inhabitants. From snowfall and sledding to witches and barbecues, the tale of Radio Falls and its inhabitants is spun right before our eyes through a mixture of inventive ensemble physicality, music, and puppetry, all supported by projected animation. Like all great fables, it’s sophisticated and mature while accessible to all ages. One of the House Theatre of Chicago's most beloved original myths, Rose and the Rime reminds us once more that in order to last, happiness must be shared: if we keep it for ourselves, it will disappear.
Not recommended for children under the age of 8.
"A stage fairy tale with a haunting resonance...one that will appeal to everyone from not-too-little kids to adults." -Miami Herald
"Fantastical, funny, suspenseful and moving, it's athletic, passionate, whimsical and visually inventive—a celebration of theatre as a communal expression of living in the moment." -Chicago Reader
"A likable, poignant, gently involving show … involves the audience explicitly in its storytelling … a great spirit of community engagement." -Chicago Tribune
"...tells a simple story with creative flair..." -Stage Raw
"...sure to entertain audiences looking for something creative and bold from L.A. theater." -L.A. Theatre Bites
"...Rime raises modern stagecraft and the possibilities of live theater to new levels." -Hollywood Progressive
"...gorgeous and imaginative production design." -Gia on the Move
"...contains no shortage of wonderment... visual pizzazz... an unabashed delight." -CurtainUp
Amy Rapp as Rose
Desirée Mee Jung as Witch / Dorothea
Andy Hirsch as Roger
Brian Brennan as Jimmy
Sean Faye as Charlie
Mandi Moss as Molly
Corinne Chooey as Evelyn
Allison Reeves as Gracie
Aaron Mendelson as Nolan
Bart Tangredi as Randal
Sierra Taylor as Rose
Cj Merriman as Witch / Dorothea / Molly / Evelyn / Gracie
Bryan Bellomo as Roger
Zach Virden as Jimmy / Charlie / Nolan / Randal
Produced for Sacred Fools by - Bruno Oliver
Assistant Director - Travis Snyder-Eaton
Associate Producers - Brian Wallis & Jax Ball
Stage Manager - Katherine Hoevers
Assistant Stage Manager - Eileen Chase
Musical Director - Crystal Keith
Dance Choreographer ("Jimmy's Song" & "Rose/Charlie Dance") - Sierra Taylor
Production & Scenic Designer / Projection Illustration / Scenic Paint - Hillary Bauman
Costume Designers - Linda Muggeridge & Mandi Moss
Puppet Designer - Miles Taber
Sound & Video Designer - Corwin Evans
Lighting Designer - Andrew Schmedake
Properties Designer - Joyce Hutter
Motion Graphics Designer - Chris Hutchings
Fight Choreographer - Andrew Joseph Perez
Poster Art - Gabe Leonard
Title Text - Jack Townsend
Performance Photography - Jessica Sherman Photography
Produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY of Woodstock, Illinois.
ROSE AND THE RIME was originally developed and devised with the students and faculty of the theatre department at Hope College and originally produced by The House Theatre of Chicago.
- Sacred Fools Company Member
Crafty Witchcraft and Stagecraft: And Now for Something Completely Different
This critic sees about one play per week and once in a great while I stumble upon something that, as Monty Python aptly put it, is completely different from anything else I’ve seen onstage. Sacred Fools’ production of Rose and the Rime belongs to this rarefied, select group of totally unique shows.
Co-written by Nathan Allen, Chris Mathews and Jake Minton of The House of Theatre of Chicago, Rime is a fairy tale featuring a spunky young female character (Amy Rapp as Rose) raised by a doting uncle (Andy Hirsch as Roger), a witch (Desiree Mee Jung), simple townsfolk and more. But what makes this West Coast premiere so unusual is how it combines up-to-date technology with timeless imagination to create a new type of stagemanship to tell this mythic story.
Immediately upon entering the Mainstage Theater at Sacred Fools’ relatively new space one is struck by the set. Several 5 foot 9 inch high thingamajigs loom upon the stage, looking like the monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey. They are actually wooden-framed video screens for rear projections of motion graphics and animation that do much to unfold the fable, as Rose daringly embarks on her own odyssey, venturing forth from the perpetually frozen village of Radio Falls. (None of the imagery is photographic and realistic per se.)
All this is the handiwork of Hillary Bauman, who is credited in the Footlights program as Production & Scenic Designer/Projection and Illustrator/Scenic Painter. But as far as this reviewer is concerned, Bauman – who has collaborated with many of L.A.’s leading theater companies and venues, including Rogue Machine, Boston Court, Antaeus, Skylight, LATC, etc. – should actually receive top billing as star of the show. Bauman’s yeoman work, visual sensibility and her rendering of it bestows Rime’s singular look upon this one act play, performed sans intermission. Aided by Motion Graphics Designer Chris Hutchings, Bauman has created a form that is perfectly synchronized to the saga’s magical content. (See: www.thechromabear.com/.)
The folk tale, adeptly directed by Jacob Sidney, also includes onstage touches such as snowflakes, puppets (designed by Miles Taber), sleighs mounted on skateboards, shortwave radios, actors ringing bells onstage (Crystal Keith is Musical Director) and more. All this is enhanced by Bauman’s wizardry, giving one the feeling that experiencing Rime is akin to walking into an animated fairy tale, such as, say, Disney’s Frozen. With the difference being, of course, that Rime is not two-dimensional, but rather performed live with a cast of very vivacious actors.
Given the animation ambiance of Rime it may be appropriate for children, and there were some tykes at the sold out premiere. But parents should be forewarned that like many folk tales, full-length cartoons, etc., the story does have its grim (and Grimm Brothers) twists and turns. [Plot Spoiler Alert: Even in Bambi the poor deer’s mother is shot.] However, Rime does seem like a fairy tale more for the grown-ups than the kiddies, and for those theatergoers who prefer their shows to go off the beaten track.
Like the Ahmanson’s recent production of the musical adaptation of the French film Amelie, Rime raises modern stagecraft and the possibilities of live theater to new levels. It points the direction towards where theater can go in the high tech, computerized 21st century. Sacred Fools has long been, along with Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum and Rogue Machine, among this critic’s favorite theater companies, so it’s not surprising that this cutting edge troupe is expanding the stage’s boundaries. Speaking of which, this was my first time at the Fools’ new multi-venue theater space since they moved closer to Theatre Row, and I was very happy to enjoy the new digs and to reacquaint myself with an old friend, and to see this ship of Fools is still pushing theater’s envelope.
© 2017 Hollywood Progressive
© 2017 L.A. Theatre Bites
I have never felt disappointed by anything produced by Sacred Fools. High praise? Yes, but also extra pressure.
Rose and the Rime by Nathan Allen, Chris Matthews and Jake Minton emerged from the same process that created another awesome bit of mythic theatre, Sparrow. Regular readers of this vlog might feel clued in to the use of the world "mythic."
Yeah, this one is that good. That (dare I say it?) magical.
"Rime" seems unfamiliar, doesn't it? It consists of granular ice tuffs left on the windward side of objects exposed to the wind. Without going into great detail--no matter the warning above--this word turns out especially apt. One of the central characters emerges as The Rime Witch (Desiree Mee Jung), who holds captive the town of Radio Falls in a never-ending winter. As the town name suggests, we have here no quasi-medieval village but what seems like a modern American small town. Or maybe a timeless modern American small town. Not really a contradiction. A paradox certainly. Certainly a piece of irony.
Immediately as the play begins, we meet Rose (Amy Rapp) who will be the heroine. We know this because in classic fashion she befriends and talks with wild animals--just like Cinderalla, like Psyche, like many a hero in fairy tale. Rose learns the truth of why her town never knows summer, how the Rime Witch killed her parents. Her uncle Roger (Andy Hirsch) tells her this, and her resolution immediately grows. A brave child is Rose, the only child in Radio Falls. She follows the storm to seek to defeat the Rime Witch and bring summer back!
She succeeds. You saw that coming, didn't you? What maybe surprises is this--even though summer returns, and this happy brave child has won the witch's power, the story is nowhere near over. For all practical purposes it now begins.
For winter must follow summer. History repeats itself. Inside every happiness contains the seeds of future misery, just as catastrophe brings with it hope for change and a better tomorrow. How could it not? At least, until we find a way to break the cycle. There--in that idea--Rose and the Rime really sank into my bones. Preparing this review I intended to point out what looked like a weakness, a certain plot turn which seemed unjustified. Yet the more I thought on it, the more I examined the story in greater detail, diving into implications. That plot point proved the key to the central mystery of the whole piece. What exactly did the characters do wrong?
They didn't tell the truth. Not to Rose. Not to themselves. Nor each other. Without that, how can they break the cycle? How can anyone? Will they tell the truth this time?
None of this would work without the cast, who together under the direction of Jacob Sidney created this amazing world out of a dream, a dream full of prophecy and meaning. Upon a set designed by Hillary Baumann, they wove together a world of puppets (thank you Miles Taber) and combat (Andrew Joseph Perez) and dance (Sierra Taylor). Everyone deserves praise for this--Brian Brennan, Corinne Choeey, Sean Faye, Aaron Mendelson, Mandi Moss, Allison Reeves, and Bart Tangredi. This play opened on a day very hard for many of us, a day of nightmarish fears and a need for hope. Together you gave the audience the ritual of hope, of understanding and wisdom needed in hard times.
Hopefully people will listen.
© 2017 Night-Tinted Glasses
The fairy tale is an effective form of storytelling for many reasons, but the primary one is that everybody is already familiar with it from childhood. A lot can be done with this format — as in Lapine and Sondheim’s Into the Woods, where the self-reflective analysis of the characters follows the “happily ever after” curtain of Act 1. The current production at Sacred Fools, Rose and the Rime, tells a simple story with creative flair...
In the eternally snowy town of Radio Falls, young Rose (Amy Rapp) wants to know why things are the way they are. She pesters her uncle Roger (Andy Hirsch) to find out, and he finally tells her that a witch with a magic coin cursed the town with permanent winter. Rose sets off to retrieve the coin from the witch, and after a series of adventures, she succeeds, recovering the coin and returning bright sunshine to her town. Everything seems great when she falls in love with Jimmy (Brian Brennan), but ignored lessons from the past come back to haunt her.
Rapp is terrific as the wide-eyed Rose; she’s the ideal adventurous young heroine who becomes less so the more she matures and must deal with the adult world. Hirsch does good work as Roger, his cautionary advice underlain with remorse because he is the only one who really understands how and why the perennial winter came about. Brennan is charmingly awkward as the smitten Jimmy, particularly in a scene where he publicly sings of his love for Rose.
Director Jacob Sidney brings a stylish panache to the show, using Corwin Evans’ storybook-like video as the major focus of the set and employing the ensemble in multiple ways: as townspeople, as a pack of wolves, as stray winds. The writing, by Nathan Allen, Chris Mathews and Jake Minton, is fine and occasionally amusing, but the story feels thin, particularly for an audience of adults.
This is a pleasant show that is well staged and performed...
© 2017 Stage Raw
Rose and the Rime True to Themes
It’s true that sometimes in the most screwed up, unfair and strange ways, fables, fairy tales and myths teach us about good and evil, vice and virtue, right and wrong. Sometimes, there’s a happy ending. There is no hidden meaning in a fable and it is meant to convey a moral truth. Although, the main characters are usually animals. Fairy tales have a little magic and of course fairies, elves and such. Myths explain why something is the way it is, also teaches a lesson and have a few gods and goddesses thrown in.
As storytelling goes, Rose and the Rime currently in production as a West Coast premiere at Sacred Fools Theatre Company Hollywood Row, is mostly fable with a few bits, and as a friend casually pointed out, slightly reminiscent of a Struwwelpter, about the small snowed-in town of Radio Falls, MI, focusing on its youngest inhabitant Rose, who sets off to find a mysterious Rime witch responsible for her parents disappearance and a coin that will release the town from an icy curse.
Like many of these types of stories, we don’t always get the full history, only a placating back story. And in Rose’s case, only a half-truth which critically sets her on a circular path charging into fate and destiny.
According to Wikipedia Rose and the Rime is a fantasy play written by the House Theatre of Chicago’s creative team Nathan Allen, Chris Mathews, and Jake Minton in 2006, with a fantastical plot and the human themes of greed, power, birth and age. All of these themes are very clearly and creatively defined by director Jacob Sidney who employs gorgeous and imaginative production design.
The physical elements in this production set a lighthearted tone and are wonderfully expressive of the style and exploration of the piece, “underneath the dialog”, although they are not always fully utilized and also keep the experience of the story from more emotional depth. A superior set design, the use of puppetry, movement sequences (a bit long), animation, music and barefoot actors (mostly to deal with sound issues) to emphasize the winter cold, are incredibly effective.
In a press note we are further offered this explanation: “Rose and the Rime reminds us that in order to last, happiness must be shared: if we keep if for ourselves, it will disappear.”
Rose journeys through many dangers to the witch’s cave to defeat the enemy, rescue the coin and restore light and warmth back to Radio Ralls for all. As either an interpretation, a director’s note or else, it leaves open the idea, “What more is Rose required to give or share?”, which complicates what is a pretty visually and narratively straightforward presentation on the themes.
Rose makes the fatal mistake of using the coin selfishly at a critic moment in her adult life. It’s a decision that humanly is forgivable in her circumstances and given the limited information she has been afforded of the past. But it also perpetuates a disastrous cycle. So who is really at fault? If Rose had been told the full truth, instead of a fairy tale about her parents, the town, the witch and the coin, might she have made different choices?
Sidney lightly guides this piece without too many bumps leaving lead actress Amy Rapp (Rose) to immerse herself in the role of the delightfully naive child who before our eyes subtly grows into a young woman whose desire to do the right thing comes into conflict when she is personally affected by tragedy. Notably, Andy Hirsch as Uncle Roger offers up the real gravitas in a singularly moving performance.
© 2017 Gia on the Move
The mercury is plunging and with the chilly weather comes a frosty sense of de ja vu. We've got a town stuck in perpetual winter and a plucky girl on a dangerous quest to confront the sorceress who brought on the brrr. No, our heroine does not utter the phrase, "Oh, Sven, I don't think we're in Arendelle anymore."
In fairness, this is not intended to be a sequel or a redo, and the origins of the fable 2006 Rose and the Rime, several years before Disney released Frozen and buried the kiddie lexicon under a blanket of all things Elsa, Anna, Olaf and "Let it go."
Of course as Hans Christian Andersen demonstrated more than a century and a half ago in The Snow Queen, there's something heart-warming about a snow witch and Rose and the Rime has such a witch and quite a bit more.
The West Coast premiere by the Sacred Fools Theater contains no shortage of wonderment. In reuniting key members of his technical team from the Fool's 2012 Hollywood Fringe production of Hamlet Max, director Jacob Sidney gives this unusual fable the visual pizzazz that it deserves.
Given the play's dark sensibility and rather quizzical logic (even for a fairy tale), any production of Rose and Rime can probably use all the atmospheric bells and whistles it can muster.
Our setting is a small burg called Radio Falls, Michigan, where the townspeople use walkie-talkies to stay in constant communication and are always looking out for each other and particularly for Rose (played by Amy Rapp), a favorite daughter who was also the last town inhabitant to be born in summer.
Alas, there has been no summer in Radio Falls since the Rime Witch placed a curse on the town when Rose was still a baby. One night, Rose, who has been raised by her uncle Roger (Andy Hirsch) following her parents' deaths, asks for a few more details surrounding the oft-told story of her birth, and learns that a magical coin might undo the curse. Off she goes in search of the Rime Witch to bring back the coin and, hopefully, the heat.
Rose's quest is plenty perilous. She braves the elements, a pack of menacing tree wolves, an ice cave, and ultimately the witch herself (Desiree Mee Jung). She succeeds, but when you bring warmth to a community that has functioned around chill, naturally you make trade-offs. Parkas are left behind in favor of bikinis and hot dogs replace hot chocolate.
Rose pairs up with Jimmy (Brian Brennan), a cute visitor from another town, and she ends up getting everything she wants, and maybe a couple of things she doesn't.
As written by House Theatre of Chicago company members Nathan Allen, Chris Matthews and Jake Minton, Rose and the Rime taps into some clever fairy tale conventions without pandering in the slightest to a younger audience. The play has some moral ambiguity, and, in this tale, when people make the wrong choices, events can cycle back and recur although it's not particularly clear here what those bad choices were.
If you don't think too hard about the play's logic, you'll find Sidney's rendering to be an unabashed delight. A trio of video screens created by Hillary Bauman allow for some splendid wintry effects. Linda Muggeridge and Mandi Moss have outfitted the company in a fanciful assortment of costumes (the winter to summer change is a kick).
Lighting designer Andrew Schmedake and sound and video designer Corwin Evans help complete the picture while the giant mottled gray rabbit fashioned by Miles Taber is a floppy, long eared scene poacher. Rapp ably leads the 12-person company.
This one won't necessarily warm the cockles of your heart, but for visual splendor in a small space, Rose and the Rime is certainly a winter winner.
© 2017 CurtainUp