Created by Tiffany Nichole Greene
Dallas Theater Center
Directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene
Scenic / Projection Designer - John Slauson
Costume Designer - Micheal Heath Waid
Lighting Designer - Nicole Iannaccone
Sound Designer - Kyle Jensen
Director of Production - Bryan White
Production Manager - Andrew Brown
Artistic Producer - Sarahbeth Grossman
Assistant Lighting Designer - Jessica Ann Drayton
Stage Operations Manager - Squeak Henderson
Lighting Programmer - Meike Schmidt
Production Electricians - Jessica Ann Drayton, Christopher Rollins, Troy Carrico, Caroline Hodge
Lead Audio / Video Engineer - Emily Schider
Audio / Video Engineer - Jorge Amador
Audio / Video Engineer - Chase Hendrickson
Devised with and featuring members of the Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company
The Gardner/King – Alex Organ
The Maid/Queen – Tiana Kaye Blair
The Queen – Liz Mikel
The Cook – Molly Searcy
The Farmer – Black Hackler
The Child – All of Us
The Friend – Christopher Llewyn Ramirez
The Wishing Well – Tiffany Solano
The Narrator – Sally Nystuen Vahle
Guard – Christopher Llewyn Ramirez
Dinner Party Guests – Liz Mikel, Tiffany Solano, Sally Nystuen Vahle
Reviewed Performance: 3/18/2021
Reviewed by Ann Saucer, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Tiffany Nichole Greene has created and directed a theatrical storybook escapade, taking the audience on a dazzling journey from the cavernous Wyly parking garage and up and around the theater in the center of the Dallas Arts District. The Brothers Grimm famously anthologized folktales, some of which have been sanitized and popularized for modern audiences. Greene has written her own as the backbone for an immersive theater experience.
This play takes the audience on a literal journey, beginning in the strobe-lit underground parking space, through a misty tunnel magically lit with dancing filigree light projections, and snaking up and around the Wyly theater block. One of the most ingenuous features is the way in which the audience is prompted to move from one point to the next. The retrofitting of the otherwise dreary concrete tunnel linking the parking garage to the theater entrance is delightful, and a perfect introductory immersion into this Arts District storybook land. Giant countdown clocks are put to clever effect.
Fitting for a fairy tale, Something Grim(m) employs archetypes. The characters do not have proper names but rather are identified by their societal roles. There is a King, Queen, cook, farmer, and even a miraculous baby. Something Grim(m) draws upon elements familiar to fairy tales: royalty commandeering a palace, magical plants, children lost in a forest, a damsel stranded in a tower, funeral rites, and a comic epilogue. And one of the most powerful vehicles for storytelling, metamorphosis, is employed as a core plot point.
Magical good fortune collides with the foibles of human nature. Jealousy, greed, rage, and selfishness derail fantastic powers and infect innocence. At the end, the audience participates in answering a morality play question.
One of the versatile, stunning features of the Wyly’s contemporary architecture is that walls of glass face the street. At two points in the Something Grim(m) journey the audience is seated before the building, and video installations within the theater present elements of the story on film. The video color and clarity are exquisite. The vividness of the film is museum quality. It reminded me of Bob Viola’s The Greeting, which has been on display at times in the Fort Worth Modern Museum of Art.
The tale also is experienced through realistic paintings that emerge out of three-dimensional story books. In addition to the gorgeous works of art and stunning video, the audience experiences the story via words and pictures, sculptures, narration, and the character’s dialogue. The lighting and sound design and execution do heavy lifting in making this production work. Something Grim(m) requires and delivers superb lighting and visual effects. Audio speakers are cleverly positioned throughout, and the audience experiences finely calibrated narration, dialogue and music, beginning underground and then throughout the garden ramp and around the block.
The Diane and Hal Brierley Acting Company members are a delight. Alex Organ, as the everyman thrust into greatness, brings intensity and nuance to the tragic journey of a regular guy descending into villainy. The screen loves Liz Mikel, as a long-suffering and gracefully charismatic heroine. Tiana Kaye Blair reveals the depths of her character’s heartbreak and tragedy. Blake Hackler thoroughly convinces as the conniving villain. Molly Searcy delivers a well-calibrated performance as the story’s most three-dimensional character.
After so many theatrical productions have been canceled, postponed, or converted to video, Dallas Theater Center brings us a quintessential pandemic experience: outdoors, masked, and socially distanced, employing electronics and visual arts. The audience experiences the characters through film, paintings, and artwork.
This production may be the inspiration for future theatre experiences. This concept also would be grand at the Dallas Arboretum or the deck park. But whether this is the first of many similar plays, or one-of-a-kind, you do not want to miss this unique event.
And if you are young, you really really need to see this as a favor to your future self. Picture yourself fifty years from now holding court and describing what the Pandemic of 2020-21 was really like to people who did not live through it. You do not want to tell them that you stared at a screen for over a year. Necessity is the mother of invention, and this re-creation of live theater to accommodate a pandemic is absolutely a silver lining—and not to be missed.
Dallas Theater Center
March 18-April 4, 2021
New groups start the experience at twenty minute intervals
Lexus Silver Parking Garage to Wyly Theatre
2400 Flora Street
For information and Tickets call (214) 522 8499 or go to https://www.dallastheatercenter.org/show/something-grimm.