December 24th, 2013Written by: Claire Matthews-Lingen Published by: Twin Cities Daily Planet
All Is Calm, The Christmas Truce of 1914 is a beautiful, interpretive show. All Is Calm is being preformed by Theater LatteDa at Pantages Theater in Minneapolis from Dec-19 through the 22. This show is very simple and while a little dull it was done well and had a plain elegance to it. Plus the singers were phenomenal. This play is set on Christmas day 1914. The story is made up of songs from that time period and well known christmas carols, along with three men sharing quotes and memories from troops who were a part of this christmas miracle. There are nine singers who maintain the music in the background nearly the whole show and when they stopped it was only for dramatic effect. All of the singing in All Is Calm is very calm, full of layers and all of it is a capella. Then there are these three men who have speaking roles and they keep the story rolling. There was no real plot to the show, it was more of an interpretive piece of, musical art or memoir of that day 100 years ago. The signers and speakers blended together and did an amazing job.
There were no company members that particularly stood out, because they all just fit so well as an ensemble. But the direction by director, Peter Rothstein was exceptional. And the staging for this show was also really well done. The set consisted of low to the ground platforms arranged in a semi-circle, the platforms were layered on top of each other. There were also three wooden milk crates arranged downstage of the wooden platforms. The Actors brought these crates out on stage with them and moved them around the stage as the show went on. This set was so simple and it really brought theater back to basics. There is a rule in theater about the suspension of disbelief that the audience is using while watching your show. All Is Calm really allowed for that. Each audience member got to lead the show with their own imagination. All Is Calm had no real flair to it, but it was a nice change from other large productions, that can get over whelmed by the special effects and sets and costumes that they have access to. The performers in this show wore simple black clothing, hats and gloves. As far as special effects go All Is Calm only used some slight fog/smoke and, well placed fake snow, which was quietly gorgeous. The lighting designed by Marcus Dilliard, fit the show perfectly. Whenever one of the actors spoke, a single spotlight would fall onto him, this seemed to resemble a light, shining in the middle of a crazy time of war. A light on Christmas day 1914. A line from a soldier’s memoir that particularly stood out was “maybe if the solders had gone on strike, revolted or called a truce the war could of ended right then and there... but then again maybe not.” After all they were still in a war and just one magical night couldn’t change that. This show had a good balance of beauty, but still showing the reality of that time. The music was amazing and the pieces all matched up to make a calm and impactful show. This show is definitely worth attending