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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 3, 1998)
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‘Waltz’ a ride for the senses
By Jason Hardy ' 1.:
Senior staff writer
Beginning this weekend, Nebraska
residents are invited to take a trip.
Don’t worry, in no way does this trip
involve Grandma’s house and leftover
turkey as dry as the holiday conversa
This Friday, Omaha’s Blue Bam
Theatre, 614 S. 11th St., is taking
patrons on a whirlwind tour transcend
ing time, space and human emotions via
a production of Paula Vogel’s award
winning play, “The Baltimore Waltz.”
Though the title brings to mind
images of elegant, relaxing dancing, die
play is actually a rock ’em, sock ’em
raucous comedy and drama meshed
together at breakneck speeds.
hi die lV^-hour performance, there
are 30 scene changes, numerous cos
tumes, constant lighting and music
shifts and somewhere in there is a
coherent plot as welL
Despite a cast that’s only three
members strong, this production is in no
way a small undertaking. Director
Kevin Lawler admitted that this pieced
intensity was sometimes hard to handle.
“It£ a definite challenge,” Lawler
said. “The whole play is like being
caught up in a whirlwind, and itb realty
challenging for a director to keep that
He said ultimately it was the three
actors who suffered most from the
playh wild nature. .
“They’re really conditioned. It’s
almost like an athletic event for these
guys, but they do a great job of sustain
ing the energy of die play,” Lawler said.
“Basically, they just don’t have time to
The play itself
takes place in the
mind of one of the
Anna. She drea
ms of a wild trip
she wishes to take
with her brother,
who has been
diagnosed with a
fatal illness. Tog
ether the two jaunt
and come in con
tact with a wide
variety of wacky
played by the
same guy - Nils
He said his
role required 30
changes and an
nt of character
traits that present
ed quite an obsta
“It’s like one
character to the
next in a matter of
seconds. It’s verv
intense,” Haaland said. “In that regard,
you really have to know your lines,
because if you mess up on one line, it
could realty throw off the whole show.”
Playing the part of the ill-stricken
brother Carl is Eric Griffith, who said
“The Baltimore Waltz” demanded a
strong commitment physically and
“It’s kind of exhausting, but at the
same time it realty gets you fired up,”
Griffith said. “Everything on stage is
moved by us three and a stage manager,
and since the show realty zips along, it
has to become an automatic thing ”
Because the show essentially is a
dream, it turns into a collage of themes
and images derived from a dizzying
variety of influences from film noir to
dirty jokes. However; at the root of the
play is the serious-dealing of grief and
death that Lawler said helps make it
more understandable to audiences.
“It works on so many different lev- j
els at the same time,” Lawler said. “It
deals with film styles and different clas
sic art styles that we’ve grown to love,
but then it also touches very deeply on
the AIDS crisis.
“You’ll laugh until you cry wife this
Griffith said the play’s humor
helped to better illustrate more serious
implications about life.
“The underlying story is very seri
ous, but it’s treated with fun,” Griffith
said ‘You’re going along laughing and
then it snaps and you’re like, ‘wow.’And
just when you start laughing again your
guard goes down and it’s like, bang,
‘here’s the point’”
“The Baltimore Waltz” starts Friday
and runs through Dec. 22 at the Blue
Bam Theatre. Tickets are $12 for adults
and $10 for students and seniors. The
show starts at 8 p.m.
tradition to continue
By Liza Hoitmeier
Clara and her Nutcracker prince can
continue to dancein the Land of Sweets.
Thanks to the Omaha Theater
Company, the holiday tradition of “The
Nutcracker” ballet lives on in Omaha.
This weekend, the Dayton Ballet
presents its last performances of “The
Nutcracker” in Nebraska. OTC plans to
mount its own production next year
OTC picked up the Dayton Ballet’s
contract to perform “The Nutcracker”
after Ballet Omaha* the original spon
Dayton Ballet has performed its
rendition of “The Nutcracker” in
Omaha the last two years, replacing toe
Ballet Omaha performances after the*
professional troupe disbanded.
But with the demise of Ballet
Omaha’s board of directors and school,
the Daytonls presence in Omaha ends.
Dermot Burke, Dayton Ballet’s
artistic director, lamented toe closure of
his Company Is Omaha chapter.
“The audiences have embraced
(Dayton Ballet),” Burke said. “And the
people we’ve worked with have been
gracious and hospitable.”
But Burke is confident that Omaha
will not go without a professional ballet
company for long.
Robin Welch, the director of dance
at OTC, plans to audition dancers in
New York and Chicago next year.
After the Omaha Theater Company
forms, it will eventually have two ver
sions of “The Nutcracker.” Welch
choreographed the first, to be per
formed next year, and set it in toe 1920s.
The second version, to be performed
every two years, will place the ballet in
Russia at the turn of the century.
Burke said this year’s “Nutcracker”
served as a dress rehearsal for the the
ater company. The organization could
learn about the business and marketing
aspects of a show without having to
mount a production from scratch.
This year’s “Nutcracker” should
also help to keep the dance audience ’ |
alive in the Lincoln and Omaha area.
Many Omaha families have already
incorporated the ballet into their holiday
With its famed score by Peter
Tchaikovsky, “The Nutcracker” has
become one of the most beloved ballets
of all time, and most professional com
panies have it in their repertoire.
The ballet tells the story of a young
girl named Clara who travels to the
Land of Sweets after falling asleep on
“It allows the audience to recapture
that innocence we lose as we learn the
rules oflife,” Welch said.
; t Because of the proliferation of
“Nutcrackers,” each company tries to !
make theirs a little different
“Even though you may have seen a j
miUion Nutcrackers, you’ve never seen
the same one. Every company has a
slightly different dream,” Welch said. :
The Dayton Ballet opens its
“Nutcracker” at the Orpheum Theater,
409 S. Hi* St, in Omaha tonight Show
times are tonight through Saturday at
7:30 p.m. with matinee performances
Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and
Ticket prices are $29, $24.50 and
$17.50 for adults. Children’s tickets are
$19, $17 and $11.50. For reservations,
call Ticketmaster at (402) 422-1212
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