Go to the Ball with Scottish Ballet’s Cinderella

November 3, 2010

Ballet, Press Releases

Don’t go packing your pumpkins away just yet – you might just need one to take you to a very special date this winter!

Louisa Hassell and Kara McLaughlin as the Stepsisters in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Andrew Ross

Louisa Hassell and Kara McLaughlin as the Stepsisters in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Andrew Ross

Please find below full information on Scottish Ballet’s gorgeous Christmas production of Cinderella, sponsored by Reid and touring Scotland and Northern Ireland this winter.

Featuring magical sets and dazzling costumes by world-renowned designer, Antony McDonald, this delicious production comes via the day-glo lens of Andy Warhol, where 18th century France period costumes are peppered with references to Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano in a decadence that embodies Scottish Ballet’s most glamorous production yet.

Here is a preview of this exciting production :

The story of Cinderella in this production is :

Eve Mutso as the Stepmother and Diana Loosmore and Patricia Hines as the Stepsisters in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Bill Cooper

Eve Mutso as the Stepmother and Diana Loosmore and Patricia Hines as the Stepsisters in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Bill Cooper

ACT 1

Prologue

The curtain rises on the image of an 18th century court shoe caught in a spotlight; shoes and feet play an important part in what is to follow. Through this image we glimpse a simple tableau: a woman lies on her deathbed, attended by her husband, a nobleman of dwindling fortune, and their daughter. The woman gives her daughter a pair of silk slippers (a family heirloom), which the daughter places in a box offered by her Father, who then retires leaving his daughter and wife alone.

Scene 1: The Drawing Room

Some time later, the Father has taken a new wife who has two daughters from a previous marriage. While they are at the wedding ceremony, the new bride has secretly arranged for the house to be redecorated, believing her new husband to be richer than he is. A modest portrait of the dead wife is being replaced above the fireplace with a much bigger one, recently commissioned, of the new wife. The family sweeps in from the wedding; the Father looks shocked and he and his daughter survey their altered surroundings with quiet dismay.

The new “lady of the house” is far too excited to notice this, and when one of the decorators enquires what should be done with the old portrait, she instructs him to throw it in the fire. Finally the Father must pay the bills and, as he sees the tradesmen out of the house, the women of the family are left alone.

The Company in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Bill Cooper

The Company in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Bill Cooper

The Stepmother and her daughters now set about degrading the young girl. The final insult comes when, after taunting her with the urn containing her mother’s ashes, they tip the contents over her and smear the ashes into her face. She is then put to work in the kitchen, which the Stepmother has neglected to have refurbished.

She has become “Cinderella”- isolated but for an increasingly fragile connection with her Father who seems to be realising that perhaps he has made a big mistake. Cinderella now brings out the partially burnt portrait of her mother, which she stealthily retrieved from the fireplace earlier. Her Father enters, despairing about his new situation and evaporating finances. They comfort each other but the Stepsisters walk in on them and discover the damaged portrait. A squabble ensues, interrupted by the Stepmother who has been disturbed by the commotion. The fracas stops dead and a sudden chill pervades the atmosphere in the room as everyone except Cinderella seems gripped in a trance. Through the door leading from the cellar, a stooped and shrouded figure enters. As it makes its way across the room the family reacts in different ways as this stranger shows its face to each of them in turn. The Father and Cinderella cannot quite believe that the face, though scarred from partial burning, seems to resemble the portrait, thrown so ignominiously into the fire. Seeing that the strange woman has no shoes, Cinderella feels a rush of empathy and recognises that her own recently acquired lowly status has, through her own lack of footwear, secured an uncanny bond of some kind with her.

Cinderella’s Father reminds her of the silk slippers bequeathed to her by her mother and suggests that she offer them to the old woman. She accepts this offer of kindness and in return gives Cinderella a pair of dancing shoes. Cinderella hides them away, and the old woman retires back through the cellar door.

An abrupt knock at the door brings a change of energy as the Stepsisters admit a new visitor – it is the Prince’s Equerry from the Palace, who has come to announce that there is to be a Royal Ball at which it is hoped the young Prince will choose a bride. He hands out invitations to all, but the Stepsisters tear up Cinderella’s and force-feed it to her. There is an air of great anticipation as the Stepmother brings out a huge catalogue and begins to choose a gown and accessories for the Ball. The Stepsisters, too, are encouraged to choose from the catalogue and the Stepmother sits at her desk ordering each item over the telephone with grand indulgence – the Father looks on, dismayed at the expense this will incur.

Items begin to arrive immediately as the Couturier enters with her assistants, followed in rapid succession by the Wigmaker, the Jeweller and the Cobbler. As excitement reaches fever pitch the Equerry announces the arrival of the Royal Dancing Master – for with the invitations comes a free dancing lesson. After the lesson, the family retires to prepare for the Ball.

Alone once more, Cinderella remembers the dancing shoes the old woman gave her; retrieving them from their hiding place, she tries them on and is startled by the energy coming from them and the sense of confidence they give her – they are “magical shoes” and she is empowered by them once more feeling an inexplicable connection with the strange old woman. Dancing herself into a frenzy, she becomes agitated and rails at the Stepmother’s portrait, but her Father enters the room and tries to console her – after all they are in this together, almost strangers in their own house. He notices she is wearing the shoes and Cinderella demonstrates their magical power.  He suddenly remembers he came in for his invitation, and retrieves it before bidding Cinderella farewell and leaving her alone yet again – he always seems to be leaving her.

As if sensing that this is one time too many, the old woman now returns and reveals her true identity – this woman is indeed her own mother transformed into a magical fairy… She has become her Godmother.

Soon Ja Lee as the Fairy Godmother in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Andrew Ross

Soon Ja Lee as the Fairy Godmother in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Andrew Ross

Scene 2: The Secret Garden

The room now disappears and the fireplace grows to become a walled secret garden in which four elemental beings appear and show the garden in each of its seasonal changes. New music heralds the arrival of the Cogs – strange women resembling the mechanism within a clock. The Godmother and the Seasons conjure beautiful clothes and, with her hazel wood wand, the Godmother transforms a pumpkin into a hot air balloon ready to take Cinderella to the Royal Ball. With a warning that she must be home by midnight, when the magic will dissolve, Cinderella sails into the air and away to the Palace… and to her destiny.

ACT II

Scene 1: The Powder Room / The Prince’s Dressing Room

Four Princesses from different continents have been invited to present themselves to the Prince, and we see them preparing in the Palace powder room. At the same time the Prince is being dressed for the Ball by the Equerry and the Dancing Master. He is in a sullen mood, unwilling to go through with the evening ahead, completely disinterested in choosing a bride. His attendants attempt to instruct him in the art of love, but he remains unpersuaded and leaves the scene. The powder room becomes overcrowded as the Stepmother and Stepsisters explode into the boudoir. Eventually, the more refined ladies depart, leaving our intrepid trio to “hog” the mirrors.

Scene 2: The Ballroom

We now move into the Ballroom where four Ambassadors greet each of the Princesses. The Father awaits his Wife and Stepdaughters who join the festivities along with the Dancing Master and his “associate” the Equerry who is overseeing the proceedings.

As one dance flows into the next, a sense of anticipation grows – yet, still no sign of the Prince! Eventually the Equerry announces that he is on his way. The Prince arrives all moody and heroic and cuts up the floor with a burst of testosterone around his four companions.

The Equerry and the Dancing Master press him to socialise with the female guests, but he flatly refuses and makes to quit the room for the gardens. A sudden calm settles on the courtiers, and through the large windows of the Ballroom we see a balloon land in the formal garden. The Prince and his guests are transfixed by this unscheduled arrival and, while they watch, the Godmother appears (apparently unseen) and begins to transform the Ballroom; what was an interior looking out onto a frosty winter garden now slowly changes, as the Seasons enter, into a gorgeous summer evening. We’re suddenly outside in the garden looking back at the twinkling lights of the Palace – the perspective has been reversed. The Cogs arrive to complete the elemental entourage breathing new life back into the court. It is eight o’clock and Cinderella descends in her balloon, melting the entire assemblage with the purity of her beauty.

Claire Robertson as Cinderella and Erik Cavallari as the Prince in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Andrew Ross

Claire Robertson as Cinderella and Erik Cavallari as the Prince in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Andrew Ross

Scene 3: The summer garden

The Prince is captivated, and as the Ball continues into the night he dances only with Cinderella. At the height of the festivities, the clock begins to strike midnight. Remembering her promise to be home by now, Cinderella tries desperately to escape, but every route is blocked by the busy throng. Finally she finds a way out, but loses a shoe in her haste. The Prince, in hot pursuit, is too late to stop her but stumbles upon the shoe. For now she is lost to him, but he has the means to find her.

ACT III

Scene I: The Journeys

The Prince has resolved to find the beautiful woman with whom he has fallen helplessly in love. He travels the world searching for her, and encounters many women who profess to be “the one”, but none will fit the shoe. We see the family returning home from the ball, rather the worse for wear.

Scene 2: Back in The Drawing Room

It is the morning after the Ball and Cinderella is still entranced by the previous night’s events – she is also very much in love.

The Godmother briefly visits Cinderella and they chatter about Cinderella’s heavenly time at the Ball. Left alone again, she hides her remaining shoe before the Stepsisters return with their booty from the Ball. The Stepsisters discover the hidden shoe and show it to their mother. Furious, she throws Cinderella into the cellar and tosses the shoe in after her.  A knock on the door heralds the arrival of the Royal “search party”.  The Prince is determined to try the shoe on every woman he finds, so the Stepmother and her daughters each have a turn without success.

In a desperate attempt to improve her financial position the Stepmother persuades her daughters to mutilate their feet so that one of them might fit the shoe, but the Father intervenes and lets Cinderella out of the cellar. At first glance, the Prince sees through her ragged appearance and the powerful chemistry the two felt at the Ball is rekindled. In a trice, the shoe is on her foot and they fall back into step with each other and embrace. Cinderella asks for her Father’s blessing and suddenly the Godmother reappears through the cellar door and sends the lovers through the secret door in the fireplace and into the magical garden.

The Company in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Bill Cooper

The Company in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Bill Cooper

Scene 3 The Palace Garden

Cinderella and the Prince are united in a celestial celebration of joy and true love in the elemental world of the Seasons and their queen, the Godmother.

Scene 4  Epilogue

For their cruelty towards Cinderella, the Stepsisters have had their eyes pecked out by two white doves and, together with their Mother, are condemned to a decrepit and miserable existence.  The Godmother redeems her husband, and leads him into a happy afterlife by her side.

 Quenby Hersh as Cinderella and Christopher Harrison as the Prince in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Graham Wylie

Quenby Hersh as Cinderella and Christopher Harrison as the Prince in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Graham Wylie

The tour dates are as follows :

Theatre Royal Glasgow

Tue 14 – Fri 31 December 2010

Evenings 14-18, 21-23, 30 December – 7.30pm

Matinees 16, 18, 23-24, 30-31 December – 2pm

Free pre-show talks with Ashley Page on Thurs 16 and Wed 22 Dec at 6.30pm and with Richard Honner on Fri 17 Dec. Call box office to reserve tickets.

Audio described performance on Thurs 16 Dec and Thurs 23 Dec at 2pm, preceded by a touch tour.

Family Insight on Sat 18 and Thu 30 Dec at 11am. Tickets £5, concession £3, family ticket for four people £12. Suitable for ages 6+.

Tickets from £9.30-£34

Discounts available – please contact box office.

Box office 0844 871 7647 (bkg fee)

Book online (bkg fee)

Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Wed 12 – Sat 15 January 2011

Evenings 12-15 January – 7.30pm

Matinees 13 & 15 January – 2pm

Tickets from £11.50-£36.50

Discounts available – please contact box office.

Box office 0131 529 6000 (bkg fee)

Book online (bkg fee)

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

Wed 19 – Sat 22 January 2011

Evenings 19-22 January – 7.30pm

Matinees 20 & 22 January – 2pm

Free pre-show talks with Ashley Page on Thurs 20 Jan at 6.30pm and with Richard Honner on Fri 21 Jan. Call box office to reserve tickets.

Audio described performance on Thurs 20 Jan at 2pm, preceded by a touch tour.

Family Insight on Sat 22 Jan at 11am. Tickets £5, concession £3, family ticket for four people £12. Suitable for ages 6+.

Tickets from £11.50-£29.50

Discounts available – please contact box office.

Box office 01224 641122 (bkg fee)

Book online (bkg fee)

Eden Court Theatre, Inverness

Wed 26 – Sat 29 January 2011

Evenings 26-29 January – 7.30pm

Matinees 27 & 29 January – 2pm

Free pre-show talks with Ashley Page on Thurs 27 Jan at 6.30pm and with Richard Honner on Fri 28 Jan. Call box office to reserve tickets.

Audio described performance on Thurs 27 Jan at 2pm, preceded by a touch tour.

Family Insight on Sat 29 Jan at 11am. Tickets £5, concession £3, family ticket for four people £12. Suitable for ages 6+.

Tickets £11-£28

Discounts available – please contact box office.

Box office 01463 234 234 (bkg fee)

Book online (bkg fee)

Grand Opera House, Belfast

Wed 2 – Sat 5 February 2011

Evenings 2-5 February – 7.30pm

Matinees 3 February – 2pm and 5 February – 2.30pm

Tickets £17.25-£36

Discounts available – please contact box office.

Box office 028 9024 1919 (bkg fee)

Book online (bkg fee)

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4 Responses to “Go to the Ball with Scottish Ballet’s Cinderella”

  1. Aurora's Nails Says:

    Wow, terrific post! Cinderella is one of my favorite ballets, but I’ve only ever seen it on TV. Thank you so much for this–the pictures are great and I loved reading the story again 🙂

  2. Debby Says:

    I think that I would enjoy seeing a Cinderella ballet.

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