“TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood…”

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When the interesting point was made by the Baker that perhaps the path had strayed from Little Red Riding Hood, the whole premise for seeing things differently is set.  In one’s life, you seem to only realize too late you have ONE, only one chance to do things in a unique way, and usually, this involves looking back wishing you would have done something differently to make a small, and sometimes, a large difference.  Many people I have found will criticize others, letting them know they feel they take on too much, or “Why do you do those when that is certainly NOT your job?” and yet – you do only have one chance and do over’s are difficult and rare to come by.  I have found in my own life, the tedious and countless projects (at first) I have taken on, said yes to, well in looking back, I am so glad I have done so.  Yes, hectic.  Yes, tired.  Yes, sometime endless. yet, God-willing, 40 years from now I will look back and see the individuals I have met, the experiences I have had, and the chances I have had to help others, and realize, yes – this is why and it meant something.

As a librarian, as a son, and as an educator, I felt the only way to survive, to break new ground, and never be placed in the category of obsolete and stereotyped as anything with the word “typical”, is to take the initiative and always approach everything with creativity.  (yes, even bankers can be creative if they want to be!)  In that lesson instilled in me from my father – who was, believe it or not, one of the quietest men ever, I realized, everything we do, if we approach it with the absolute best and creative means, the rewards come back ten-fold.  This lesson has never escaped me.

So what happens when you see a cast that has done the very same thing on and off stage as in Into the Woods?  You see individuals willing to take risks, preparing for the world behind high school with what they are doing now, and you see heart in the music, in the makeup, in the set, in the direction, in the acting, in the costumes, in the lighting, and yes, in the unexpected that occurs. Seeing every show is not a task and never has been, it has been the privilege of seeing a cast grow into roles, grow together as a family in one final hurrah of production, and see parents beaming not just because of this performance, but because of the amazing culmination of talent and creativity – and such is the case with Into the Woods.

Out of all the lines from Into the Woods, dropping the words, “Brother, someone is going to get fired today!” and “And take your dead ones too!” – what might be internal jokes to some, are very true to the laughter of those attending Friday’s performance, and the example of taking something, incorporating into part of your experience, and creating something even more powerful. THAT is the artist at work, and Friday April 10th’s performance sealed the fact that Into the Woods goes down the path many might initially avoid and yet, truly taking that path “…has made all the difference.”  Bravo Into the Woods team, bravo!

Juliana G. – From the very first preview show, Little Red Riding Hood appears with spunk, bravado and sense of strength that puts fear into many.  Yet, her gentleness and innocence is right there under the surface, and you are able feel that thanks to the power brought to tipis character Friday – easy to look forward to every time she steps onto the stage and ready to laugh when faced with confrontation. A huge impact on this musical while managing to suppress laughter when an improvised bird kicked the bucket  🙂

Alexa – While certainly will not be just remembered for her quick thinking when birds drop  from the sky in death, Alexa’s adaptability to so much, including slippers, pitch, and all the while, the ability to maintain a voice, that causes your heart to TREMOR with emotion, and tears to rise to your eyes – that is the power Alexa brings to this role and she absolutely, positively just did in to the 100th degree Friday again.  So much that the role is not simply the princess, but the navigator of our emotions throughout the play.

Alexander D – Not only as the play progresses, but in EVERY PRODUCTION, Alex is able to get stronger as a person throughout he baker, and it is impossible to miss.  You anticipate this happening thanks to the energy, the confidence and the characteristics of becoming a father past when his child gets older, he becomes a father in the here and now by the end thanks to the strength he slowly lets rise in this character as seen Friday.  Even more so, you see the Baker become a father to Jack while awaiting a dreaded confrontation, and this seals the deal of what Alex is able to bring to this role in Into the Woods.

Sofia – Expressions are everything, and Sofia no matter if a sister or Sleeping Beauty brings the reality to her character absolute.  The tendency is to stay focused on characters right in front of you, but pay careful attention to Sofia’s role in both, and you will see why she adds such a superb contribution to Into the Woods.

Ana Paula – Ana’s ability to turn the character of  Snow White or as an evil sister – into a smug and perfect match is ideal.  She matches the demeanor of Sofa G perfectly, and yet stands on her own as an individual character. You need to pay attention to her in and out of the spotlight as it adds flavor to an great production.

Tamara – Unexpected incidents, expressions, and dialogue make what you would think a secondary or mini character become much more. Paying attention to her before during, and after the attempts to win over the prince are PRICELESS and worth their merit.  You can only imagine the roles that await in the future based on her expressions, ability to make a character complement the plot, and work so well as a team character – Friday’s performance was her best yet.

Arturo – Amazing for reasons seen and not seen.  Having the ability to strut bravado in just the right way to get an audience’s reaction, saying the right words the right away for the absolute best reactions from the audience and literally, seeing Arturo the same night, appearing in front of the JV winning team talking to his teammates right after this production, this says alot about what Arturo and can willing will do on and off stage.

Sofia – Revisiting the role of Rapunzel from the preview night, her screaming scams amid running, as well as her distress over her hair being stolen, pulled, and used as a leash sometimes by her mother – she is able to get a reaction out of the prince and the audience perfectly.  You wait for her to run across the back of the stage and anticipate it – that is how good she is able to bring this role to light.

Susanne – Initially coming off as a very passive, stay at home mother who has little backbone except with her son, Susanne times moments to slowly become more and more aggressive in her role perfectly as Jack’s mother.  Standing up to the giant, as well as passing on sage words advice to the audience after her son, Susanne easily rolls out who Jack’s mother is and who you imagine her to be.

Jorge – Slapstick comedy as well as machismo – you have it all tuned to the perfect setting. Be it a microphone looking for a tongue-lashing or an audience to win over, no problem,  Jorge is able to do so and has had that ability since the first showing, and in tune with Arturo, you are listening to stereo with his role – absolutely.

Isabel – The rhythm and pace she is able to keep up with explaining the bean saga to the baker and wife, the ability to seamlessly inflict gentleness, as well as wickedness, and then turn to exasperation – yeah all in one play. Her voice is commanding, strong, and directed to the moment at hand.  You can see and hear her confidence flow as thick as the mist on stage, and as a result, it is easy to see how Isabel is a dominant force on stage and so far in all the productions.

Lucia – Truly as the grandmother of Grandmothers, Lucia has increasingly brought this  role to life at every successive show.  She is able to truly activate the Wolf scene to its fullest and continues to remind you in consequent scenes what she brings to this role and to Into the Woods as a whole.  The attention you pay to her on and off the main stage will pay itself back as she keeps the story going when she is speaking as well as through her actions.

Ana – Unless you see multiple shows, it is difficult to appreciate the quality that lies in a character’s role.  And yet, here it is and evident in Fridays show.  The growing confidence was evident in Friday’s performance and setting the narrator as an authority in Into the Woods became the fact Friday.  Expressions, slowing the dialogue down, and the fluidity of the narrator with the other characters made this character what it is Friday!

Lucia S. – Truly a storybook role, Lucia is able to take all the elements of emotion, control, feeling neglected, being manipulated or being the manipulator, to the highest level and bring the audience with her.  Add into the mix a voice that adds a level of emotion hat can;t be registered, and you have a carrying force of the success of Into the Woods.

Natalia – Holy step mother….exactly.  Her attitude, yet a gentleness she brings to this role while being completely infuriating – it works well.  The expressions that go beyond her attire and makeup reinforce that she is a survivor and is hauling her daughters along too for the survival trip.  There is a reason she is no one of the offerings to the giant!

Nicolas– The spontaneous feeling you get from his reactions to Little Red Riding Hood, and as the Giant are done so well – and are a guarantee you will walk away with moments of hilarity, even at the end sucking in as much applause is possible.  Nicolass’ very personality on stage sets his roles to be anticipated; the salute he will issue as the giant and complementing as many characters around him appears easy due to his comfortable appearance on stage, none more evident than in Friday’s show.

Pablo – His ability to hit you sideways with talent is uncanny and powerful.  Between his presence when he is not speaking, the ability to project his voice to your very heart and ears, as well as transforming into wanting to be a man and still playing the role of a son wanting a father, then a mother, his ability to multiply his presence was very much evident in Friday’s performance.  His presence only enhances the depth of Into the Woods.

Pablo – It is easy to write off this character as a here and there narrator to push the characters along.  Pablo did not let the character do this in Friday’s performance and in the culminating scenes, he becomes the father that Alex has become, and he has done so with emphasis on the points he gets to to Alex.  His slow and methodic spirit-like movements work to accompany this role across to the audience.

Pedro – Not failing the role he has in this character, he takes charge of being in control when the prince is not around. Since the first show, he is gaining and exerting more authority as the man in charge when the “man in charge” is not around, inflicting results on Jack’s mother and serving as gate keeper to the princess. He will be so interesting to see what roles he will take in the future, from eyeing how he breathes life into his current role as steward.

Ximena V. – Again, playing Florinda, you look at the role of sister and think, okay, secondary role.  Her comments, attitude, and yes, even head rolling while having hair braided – all make this anything but a secondary role thanks to her energy and detail to every action, expression, and how she carries herself on stage.  This continues to grow and was very easy to see in Friday’s performance.

What you see on stage is a reflection, and then some, of the work the makeup led by Paloma, costumes, Tech Club, Director Alvaro Cervino, and Managers Teruhi Yoshioka, Hugo Cabrera, Rosana Cesarman, a great lighting company,  all have decided to place their lives for the last 5-6 months on hold and move foreword with letting the spotlight on so many amazing cast members, and it was truly 100% authentic in gratitude how the Into the Woods cast recognize those members and those that can’t step onto the stage at the end of the show.  Creativity abounds but it definitely abounds on the set of Into the Woods thanks to the family that was created through creativity and inspiration.  You can see all the shows of Into the Woods, and should and still will not be able to grab enough!  Grab your seat for April 16th at 5:00 PM and hold on!

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About Harry Brake

Employee of ASF in Mexico City, Librarian, Media crazy! :)
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