Magazine article Stage Directions

Snowballs and Spears for the Snow Queen

Magazine article Stage Directions

Snowballs and Spears for the Snow Queen

Article excerpt

Recently I had the opportunity to work with the Tulsa Opera on the & American premiere production of The Snow Queen, a fairytale opera by Pierangelo Valtinoni and based on the Hans Christian Andersen story that inspired Disney's smash hit Frozen. This new production of The Snow Queen, under the direction Alison Moritz, and with close collaboration of the design team had a true touch of winter magic.

Conceptually, the show was initially inspired by images of snowflakes when viewed under a microscope. Shattered but beautiful frozen and fractal landscapes, this visual theme was displayed in every design element of the production. As Prop's Designer I did my part to carry the theme through as well.

Snowflake Spears

The challenge was to create these winter weapons that fit into the world of the story; themed but functional, solid but safe. The Snowflake Spears were designed for the two main guards of the ice palace and needed to stand out while still relating to the other weaponry. The swords and spears were all trimmed out in Electroluminescent Wire in various whites and blues to achieve the desired glow. The spears were then fitted with a decorative sphere, each filled with 60 bright blue LED Fairy Lights. Conceptually, this sphere of "cold energy" is what powers the weapon. The touch of LED in the spheres and the glow of the wire hit the right winter note.


Then director Moritz asked for a bit of winter magic...snowballs. These snowballs should act like real ones, so, when they hit the snow army's shields, they would bust open, disperse, and ideally blend in with the rest of the snow that's falling from the snow bag. …

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