November 17, 2013
Pioneer Theatre Guild: Pippin
The Troupe gathers around Pippin (Oren Steiner) upon his graduation from the prestigious University of Padua: “I’m very grateful for the knowledge that you have given me. But I’m afraid what I’m looking for can’t be found in books.”
Putting words to paper (or in this case “blog-post”) is a gut-wrenching experience for me. I try because, well, images don’t always express all I want to say. However, the amount of time it takes me to find the words to express all I want to say is … umm, well … pretty much forever and a day. Even writing these few sentences is sheer torture. So you can understand why I’ve been taking a sabbatical from blogging — and the world has somehow managed to go on.
When push came to shove, I couldn’t not post about Pioneer Theatre Guild’s performances. Especially their production of Pippin, which captivated both me and Max. So when the opportunity presented itself to have one of the show’s leads write the captions for my images, I pounced. Thank you, Oren Steiner, for agreeing to write these — and for doing such a great job with them!
Members of the Pippin troupe (Christina Alaniz, Emmalee Mills, Will Brinkerhoff, Sherry Li) help break the fourth wall with an opening number which invites the audience to join the adventure. “We’ve got magic to do just for you.”
A few of the mini troupe members get their chance to shine front and center. They’ve got “parts to perform, hearts to warm.”
Pippin (Oren Steiner) gets up close and personal with the audience, singing “Corner of the Sky” on a sturdy extension of the Schreiber stage, great job sets!
Lewis (Josh Lash) jumps onto the scene and demonstrates his superior manliness by weightlifting a member of the kid troupe and waving his sword around in true warrior fashion.
“Map!” A human map made up of two troupe members (Johnny Kroll and Alex Silva) shuffles its way on stage at the king’s command. King Charlemagne (Caleb Horvath) teaches his soldiers how to defeat the Visigoths. “War is a science, with rules to be applied.”
The soldiers get into formation and prepare for combat, while the enemy Visigoths have their swords at the ready.
Leading Player (Emma McGlashen) leads a dance number while a brutal slow-motion battle takes place around her. “Blood is red as sunset. Blood is warmer than wine.”
Dead Visigoth soldiers (l-r Alex Silva, Adam Brecht, Alexa Zielinski) reanimate and flail around singing “Glory!” after King Charlemagne’s victory.
Pippin (Oren Steiner) escapes from the victory celebration and comes across a dead Visigoth soldier (Max Housner) who gives him a piece of advice: “Unless you get killed, one battle’s pretty much like another.”
An acrobat troupe member (Griffin Hall) displays his unique talents on the lyra hoop as Leading Player (Emma McGlashen) sings about the simple joys in life.
“Wouldn’t you rather be a left-handed flea or a crab on a slab at the bottom of the sea.” The hula-hoop choreography and high energy of “Simple Joys” left the audience in awe! (l-r Grace Wissman, Allison Menge, Sam Torres)
Pippin (Oren Steiner), still unsure about his life, seeks the help of his granny, Berthe (Emily Uhlmann) who gladly shares her wisdom. “Don’t take life so seriously. Just take things as they come along.”
“Time to take time, for spring will turn to fall in just no time at all.” Troupe members hold up lyrics so the audience can sing along! (l-r Alida Pitcher-Murray, Sayako Rain Seki, Abigail Hirschbein, Rebecca Lister)
Berthe (Emily Uhlmann) tries to cheer Pippin (Oren Steiner) up with some dance moves. “Watching your flings be flung all over makes me feel young all over!”
The simple joys in life become a bit overwhelming for Pippin (Oren Steiner) as his innocent love song escalates into a very suggestive ensemble number. “Enough. That’s enough. Leave me alone.”
Next on his journey, Pippin (Oren Steiner) becomes a politician, vowing to take the crown from his tyrannical father, as citizens rejoice at his radically peaceful ideas. “Down with Charles! Up with… ME!”
Pippin’s devious, crafty and cunning stepmother, Fastrada (Hannah Barbosa Cesnik) sings “Spread A Little Sunshine.”
Leading Player (Emma McGlashen) introduces newly appointed King Pippin (Oren Steiner).
Peasants, nobles and others line up as King Pippin (Oren Steiner) prepares to hear their petitions.
An eager troupe member (Alex Silva) rushes the troupe on stage for the finale, with a torch at the ready, before being yelled at by the Leading Player. “Not now, you idiot!”
After finding Pippin (Oren Steiner) lying in the road like a discarded rag, Catherine (Hannah Hesseltine) takes him in and introduces him to her son (Ethan Steiner). “Enter Theo. A loveable boy and his lovable duck.”
Catherine (Hannah Hesseltine) and Pippin (Oren Steiner) sing “Love Song” with the help of guitar player, Aidan Cotner.
When Theo’s (Ethan Steiner) duck gets sick, Pippin (Oren Steiner) comforts him with prayer. “God, I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but this boy loves his duck.”
Catherine (Hannah Hesseltine) sings “I Guess I’ll Miss The Man” after Pippin’s sudden departure. Pippin’s family comes to comfort him by explaining to him “that your search for meaning and fulfillment was doomed from the start.”
“Think about your life Pippin, think about the dreams you planned.” Troupe members try to persuade Pippin to risk his life for one glorious, fiery, grand finale!
A daredevil troupe member (Max Housner) performs a death defying stunt. Shoutout to sets and lights crew for the amazing flame effects!
When Pippin chooses the simple life over a life of glory, Leading Player (Emma McGlashen) becomes furious and yells at troupe members to stop the show and take down the lights, props, and sets.
Leading Player (Emma McGlashen) and troupe members rush back on stage whispering, shouting, and reaching out into the audience: “Join us! Join us!”
Theo (Ethan Steiner) begins the journey all over again with an unforgettable solo performance: “Rivers belong where they can ramble. / Eagles belong where they can fly. / I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free. / Gotta find my corner of the sky.”