By Ariel Mary Ann
We all think we know the story of Beauty and The Beast but playwright Raina Hardy puts a contemporary spin on this classic tale.
Glassheart, which opened on November 19th at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, reexamines what it means to find true love, the sacrifices we make for those who we care about the most and the longing to feel human. Directed by Tamara Winters, this deeply moving comedy is set within the walls of a small Chicago apartment where The Beast (played by Adam Tran) and his servant, The Lamp (played by Hannah Gregory) are discovering not only the city but themselves.
Utilizing an European accent, we quickly discover that both The Beast and The Lamp recently moved to the city with the purpose of finding The Beast’s one true love. After failed attempts in the past, The Lamp is convinced that happiness lies within Chicago.
Tran explores the hopelessness and longing that one feels when it comes to true love. He brings this character to life through a comedic, brooding, and melodramatic portrayal. Juxtaposed with Gregory’s exploration of having hope and ambition as The Lamp, they masterfully play off of one another’s chemistry, finding the power in each line that they deliver.
Jodie Linver as The Witch delivers in every sense of the word. She carries each line with such power and control that you couldn’t help but to be mesmerized by her performance. In shared scenes with Gregory, these women dominate the stage together, playing off of one another and taking on each line into a new stratosphere. Linver not only plays this character but she makes The Witch her own. Her performance is, to put it simply, iconic.
Julie Locker as Aiofe feels like a breath of fresh air. She brings so much energy to this role. Watching Aiofe slowly build this relationship with The Beast is so smooth and seamless. Without spoiling what happens, Locker dominates the stage in Act II (in a gorgeous dress as though she just stepped out of the world of Disney).
Costume designer, Noelle Wedig-Johnston absolutely slays dressing each character. The costumes alone help push this classic story into the millennial age. Tran as The Beast doesn’t need you to tell him how to dress. Though brooding and over dramatic at times, Tran’s character knows who he is fashion wise. The Lamp’s quirky light hat and light colored clothing feel almost whimsical but juxtaposed with The Beast’s dark clothing, it demonstrates how emotionally different these two characters are. Aiofe’s costuming feels almost youthful but mature in a way. If you need any reason to see this show, Aiofe’s Disney-like dress within Act II is reason enough (as mentioned previously). She will simply blow you away.
Andrew Hungerford as the scenic and lighting designer, helps set the mood of each scene through cohesive lighting direction. From the ‘magic’ of the witch to the different light cues, Hungerford truly pulls us into the story.
Tamara Winters, as director, knows what she’s doing. It’s evident that every moment in this show was meticulously planned, plotted, and blocked with the help of choreographer, Darnell Pierre Benjamin. Together with the cast, they bring this story to life in such a beautiful and deeply moving way.
For those who are looking for a twist on a classic tale, please check out Glassheart by Reina Hardy. Now playing at Know Theatre through December 12th. Click HERE for tickets.
Ariel Mary Ann is a graduate of U.C.’s Women and Gender Studies program with a lifelong love of performing. LCT welcomes her this year, and this is her first review.