Photographer Yvonne Dalschen is a member of the Camera Club of Oak Ridge. She is one of several talented people who photograph the rehearsals and performances of the Oak Ridge Civic Ballet Association. I chose a small sampling of her pictures from this year’s production of The Nutcracker to share here. I played the part of Drosselmeyer, the magical toymaker who gives the Nutcracker to his niece and goddaughter Clara. The pictures are from the three shows we did over the weekend of November 22 and 23.
I added a few new things to the ORCBA production this year. I was inspired after seeing David Dwyer’s performance as Drosselmeyer with the Appalachian Ballet in 2013. During the overture, I put the human version of the Nutcracker prince into a cabinet. I waved my wand and he was transformed into the wooden Nutcracker.
Yvonne’s photo of my arrival during the party scene is particularly dramatic. She said that she followed my movement with the camera while the rest of the cast was frozen in place.
Drosselmeyer brings three life-sized dolls to the party. I chose to magically control them with my wand as if they were stringless marionettes. In the photo on the left, I am behind the masquerade doll, played by Elizabeth Cousins. The photo on the right is a close-up of me controlling two cantiere dolls, who are out of the frame at that moment.
Drosselmeyer is both a toymaker and a magician. I performed five small magic tricks during the show. I bought a few tricks on Amazon.com but some of them didn’t quite fit the circumstance. I contacted my friend Danny Whitson, who is a magician and stand-up comedian. Danny let me borrow some of his tricks, which I used in the party scene. On the left, I am making a silk appear from my previously empty fist while Clara, played by Carinne Cheney, looks on. The silk gets wrapped around the broken Nutcracker and magically fixes him. On the right, I am waving my wand over Clara, played by Emily Stansfield, as she falls asleep on the floor of the living room and begins the dream that makes up the rest of the ballet.