The Met’s production of Hansel and Gretel will be broadcast live in high-definition on New Years Day at 1 p.m. The Walter Reade Theater and the Brooklyn Academy of Music are both participating in New York. Tickets can be found here.
Director Richard Jones describes the production on the Met’s blog:
In Jones’s view, the piece is all about food, and the lack of it. “And it’s about people consuming other people,” the director explains. “Or people consuming other people’s territory. Elbowing each other out. It’s got images of cuckoos in it and creatures taking over other creatures’ nests. Which is what ultimately the children do with the Witch.” To emphasize the food theme, each of the three acts is set in a kitchen. “From the beginning,” Jones says, “I wanted to do the piece in three styles. So the first style is very realistic, for the children’s house. Like a D.H. Lawrence play at the Royal Court Theatre, or any number of plays you could see here in New York. The second style is a German expressionist style, like Wedekind’s Spring Awakening. And the third style is for the Witch’s kitchen, which is Theatre of the Absurd. It was very much inspired again by something I saw as child. Every year I used to get taken to a pantomime at the London Palladium, and in each of these pantomimes there was always a thing called a Slop Scene where food was thrown about, or people got very messy. I think a lot of memories of seeing those scenes in the pantomimes went into the production of Hansel and Gretel.” Is it still a children’s story? “Oh,” says Jones, “I think it’s a feast for a child really. It’s got lots of very scary things in it. And lots of very sweet things.”