By AUTUMN NEAL
Just as the summer temperatures in Oakdale rise, the latest production at Hutton’s Hamlet, ‘The Snow Queen,’ provides a cool refresher to the sweltering heat.
This week, The Snow Queen will be featured at Hutton’s Hamlet for a performance on Friday evening, June 23 at 7 p.m. and there will be two performances on Saturday, June 24 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“It’s a lovely story,” director Annette Hutton commented. “This is the Hans Christian Andersen story that Frozen came from.”
The Snow Queen, however, focuses more on the importance of friendship rather than sisterhood – which is fitting for the actors’ relationships with one another. Though ages of actors can range from five to 20, the cast is unmistakably close. Hutton revealed that one of her favorite parts about productions like these is how “the older kids and younger kids get along.”
Rachel Swift, an Escalon High School graduate playing Gerda, confirmed the sentiment.
“I like how small every cast is and how close we can all get … I’m friends with almost everyone.”
The play is about best friends, torn apart by the antics of an icy queen and her evil mirror. Kay, after being struck by a shattered piece of the mirror, becomes a mean, ugly person and it is her friend, Gerda’s, job to find a way to rescue her. Despite these bleak prospects and all the obstacles that stand between the pair of friends, it’s still a comedy. The play also features a stand-up comedian penguin, Vikings, a witch who can never seem to get her spells right, and more.
Madison Mattos is in her seventh play with Hutton’s Hamlet this year and is enjoying playing her character, Princess Adeline.
“She’s snobby and vain and she has a lot of attitude,” Mattos said, chuckling, “and she’s just very mean.”
Mattos continued by remarking how much she loved her cast and how funny they all are.
“If you want to be an actor it prepares you for how hard it is,” Mattos added of the Hutton’s Hamlet production. “But it’s very fun.”
For a two-week workshop, the cast and crew moves quickly – from developing friendships to learning lines to building sets. Hutton remarked that she had been the music director of productions that had been eight months long in the process. After being a part of such a process, she began to realize that the kids did not need a long period of time to prepare for a play.
“Their interest was not there until it was time for the play,” Hutton explained.
After beginning work in Oakdale, she realized that two weeks was the magic number. By giving the cast deadlines to memorize the script act by act, they have been able to perform within the set two-week limit for almost 20 years now. The Snow Queen is likely to continue this streak of success.