It’s a snow day!
The worst blizzard in 100 years hits the small Vermont town of Deerpoint. The local teens gather around their respective radios to hear the most excellent announcements known to students: school closures. Sweet! It’s a snow day. But these small-town teens soon experience the strangest snow day ever, thanks to a mysterious visitor who shakes up their carefully constructed social world.
Snow Angel is a surreal story fashioned by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, known for the odd plotlines and eccentric characters seen in the local productions of Fuddy Meers and Kimberly Akimbo. Snow Angel is a dark comedy wrapped up in a bizarre mystery that cleverly captures the emotional minefields and peer pressures teens teeter through on a daily basis.
The two central characters are Frida (Ashleigh Yaya), the local misunderstood misfit, and Eva (Lia Seyman), a ghostly figure from the past who wanders through the town looking for her old homestead and becomes a catalyst for teen angst. The rest of the cast is a motley crew of teen stereotypes: the tech geek, the social queen, the jock, the toughie, the Ritalin kid, the dude and the shy one. Each is portrayed with sensitivity and some insight.
The play is presented in short scenarios with conversations in various locations: on the slopes, in a vacant shed, at a local fast-food hangout, and in the ultimate teen sanctuary—bedrooms. The playwright cleverly gives the teens a mandatory journal-writing assignment so we can peek into the characters’ inner thoughts and emotions. The odd script is enhanced by otherworldly staging: a set of white slopes and slabs with gray granite benches; swirling snowy lights; an eerie constant wind sound; and a pulsating, ultra-cool soundtrack that includes songs from Fall Out Boy, Black Eyed Peas, Franz Ferdinand, Ludacris and Weezer.
There are 16 cast members in this production, all local high-school and college students. Before a recent performance, director Rod Loomis described managing rehearsals with a stage full of talkative teens as “trying to herd cats.” Luckily, Loomis is a gifted herder with very talented felines. It’s an impressive showing. Every one of the young actors should take a well-deserved bow, especially since the material and staging is quite complex.