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The Cascadia Weekly
Dec 15-22, 2009
Snow Globe

SHAKE, APPRECIATE, REPEAT

INSIDE THE tiny, transparent universe of a snow globe, the world can change at a moment’s notice. With a simple shake—a toss and turn upside down and back again—hapless tourists on a sun-drenched Hawaiian vacation may suddenly find themselves engulfed in a frigid winter landscape not of their making.

They’ve been shaken up, you see, and can be again, and again, and so on, until the world settles back into a familiar rhythm—or until they get used to not knowing what exactly is coming next.

Snow Globe, iDiOM Theater’s foray into in-depth collaboration with local musicians and actors—not to mention a painter—takes on the spherical and mercurial nature of its title both figuratively and literally. The story revolves around two sisters, Janie (Carolyn McCarthy) and Yoli (Kimberly Ross), who live in a small town and run a museum focusing entirely on snow globes Yoli acquires from various exotic locales. They have a predictable rhythm to their lives, but after a mysterious man with only a suitcase to his name shows up one day, things will never be the same.

Because it’s central to the story, I don’t think I’m sharing too much by revealing the stranger turns out to be Yoli and Janie’s long-lost brother Alexander (Mike Mathieu), who seems to want to reconnect with his sisters but can’t quite get over the fact that he was sent to live with relatives after a family tragedy left the kids all alone in the world.

To find out if the siblings reconnect and learn what exactly the Waterglobe Watchdog Society is, you’ll have to show up to Snow Globe in person. I can tell you that if you go, you’ll visit the Louvre, be treated to live music by Jan Peters, Kat Bula, and Clea Taylor, see how a disco ball fits into the equation and hear the three stars of the show transform dialogue into songs that are, in turn, delicate, haunting, hilarious and—I’m looking at you, Mr. Mathieu—passionate.

Perhaps this is the point in the story where I should add that Snow Globe is a musical. Of sorts. This isn’t Oklahoma; there are no swelling choruses, romantic triangles or elaborate stage sets. What we see onstage are three seasoned actors with impressive pipes and three musicians who, even though they’re sitting unobtrusively on the sidelines, make the world inside the globe all that much more real.

But the “music box” alliances don’t stop there. Besides those seen under the spotlights, Mathieu and McCarthy—who conceived of Snow Globe, and worked together to get it to the stage—chose their favorite songs from five local songwriters they admire (Lucas Hicks, Casey Connor, and Kristin Allen-Zito are added to those performing live) and built the show and story around the songs. Artist Ruthie V. added her talents by painting the oversized snow globes that move the scenes forward. Musician Jan Peters and Kim Ross split arrangement duties, while McCarthy and Mathieu brought some sweet dance moves into the mix.

"None of us could have created this on our own," McCarthy says. "It is a collaboration in the truest and most satisfying sense of the word."
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