Skazki “Baba Yaga”
McKenna Brooks • August 19, 2017 • 2017 Boulder Fringe Festival •
Straight from Russian folklore, a child-eating witch named Baba Yaga tells tales of love and strife. The actress, Sam Reiter, combined shadow puppetry, storytelling, and simple props to create a multidimensional production that is completely captivating to all ages. We follow Baba Yaga as she recounts the complicated love stories in which a young woman always falls for a hero named Yvonne. Baba Yaga, without an Yvonne, told us that she is too smart to have a man fall in love with her. The show is animated, clever, audience inclusive, and all around a light-hearted performance with a deeper message.
I loved this show. Talking to the actress afterwards, she aimed to encapsulate the characteristics of different Baba Yagas from old stories to create one whole character. In Ms. Reiter’s time in Russia, she found that Baba Yaga was an icon for Russian women, and I think all women can benefit from emulating her as well. Although the message was confusing and up to the individual, in the end Ms. Reiter wants to express that it’s okay to be alone. I was apprehensive about the shadow puppetry, but it proved to be an integral part to the performance that really enveloped the audience and made the show come alive. There were times where Baba Yaga interacted with members of the audience asking them questions they couldn’t answer. I think this really helped to establish her character and command attention that I was happy to give. This show does have a sort of daunting undertone, but the humor and whimsical performance makes it appropriate for children and adults. I think the show has a little something for everyone.
You can experience “Baba Yaga” at the Wesley Theater.