Blasphemy! I know, I know. I adore the Nutcracker so much that I always forget how much of a snoozer most of the first act is. Let’s pause for a moment, clear the marzipan from our heads, and think back to that nice nap we took during scenes one through six, you know–the scenes with all the lovely orchestra music playing in the background?
Somewhere in between the trumpet and the horn, I vaguely remember a long, uneventful Christmas party: 20 minutes of adults greeting each other and passing around hors d’oeuvres. I’m pretty sure one of the scenes is called “Dance of the Parents,” and another “Departure of the Guests,” two of the least exciting things to happen dramatically ever, and during which time most of the dancing consists of adults shaking hands and bowing to each other. Which, I’ll give them credit, is exactly how I imagine parents dancing. I know, they have to introduce the magical toymaker who gives Clara the nutcracker, etc, etc, but really–and maybe this is the New Yorker in me speaking–I would have been just as pleased to have rushed through that bit, and filled the following five scenes with the dancing rats. Who doesn’t like festive rodents?