'Tis the season for Nutcrackers

I know. You're already wondering what the hell this Jewish theater director is doing working on a Nutcracker ballet. Sometimes I wonder myself... But I've always had a weird little relationship with the Christmas season. My mother used to hang dreidel-shaped stockings over the fireplace accompanied by stories of Maccabee suicide brigades descending the chimney to fill them. Mall Santa's were frequently visited, to my father's chagrin. And almost annually, while my parents helped out at the local synagogue, I was left in the custodian's office to watch PBS, which is where an 8 year old Josh first saw Mark Morris' influential and delightfully irreverent Hard Nut. It's almost impossible to grow up in this country without being exposed in some way to the Nutcracker. In the coffee-shop where I'm drafting this very email, I've already heard the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy three times (thanks, Pandora). This is funny, of course, because I can't even begin to tell you what in God's name the ballet is actually about. Is it a coming of age tale? A tale of coerced sexual awakening (don't tell me Drosselmeyer isn't a bit of a creep)? Why is everyone battling rats? And someone please explain to me the point of Act 2 beyond the conventions of Russian 19th century ballet. Is it all a dream? Or is it all a melancholy metaphor for Clara's death? -- These are the essential questions we've neglected to answer enitrely by tossing aside what Tchaikovsky himself considered a rather idiotic scenario. Instead, we've taken some of the principle themes and imagery, and newly arranged the iconic score, in order to tell the life-story of a dancer named Clara. From childhood to old age, each chapter of Clara's life is simultaneously depicted by world-class dancers in a playful yet poignant immersive dance-theatre performance. We are determined to make this production an annual holiday tradition, and we hope you'll join us for this first incarnation at the cavernous Knockdown Center, December 12th, 13th & 14th. I really, really hope you can join us. Of course, if you can't make it to one of the performances and you still feel moved by the ol' spirit of the season there's always the opportunity to give via our crowd funding platform Hatch Fund. With a little less than two weeks left in our campaign we are on the verge of crossing the threshold of our target goal and reaching for our more ambitious stretch goal! Yes, we truly need your help, and yes, those $25 contributions make a difference. And if you don't know about Hatch Fund, you should check it out, because they're pretty awesome. They curate their projects and also don't take a percentage (hence the surcharge). Also we've been a staff pick for the past week, so that's pretty cool too. With dreams of sugarplums,

A Nutcracker