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"Rose and the Rime" comes to Miami's Arsht Center

Staff Writer

As with so many things in show biz, the story of “Rose and the Rime” is all about timing.

Recommended for ages 6 and up, the fantasy play about a girl who rescues her town from the Rime Witch will run through May 18 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade. The play is produced and staged by the House Theatre of Chicago.

After workshops at Michigan’s Hope College, where co-writer Nathan Allen teaches, the show went on to win Best Original Work at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in September 2008. Four months later, the House Theatre staged the show in Chicago, complete with music, magic and acrobatics.

“Which means this show came out of our company at the time the world was coming apart,” says Allen, referring to the Great Recession. “[The company] had grown very, very quickly. We were in the right place at the right time in Chicago, and we just took off like bottle rockets. This project was the last gasp of our collective youthful optimism.”

Now, he thinks it’s time to revisit the story and make some changes. “It’s spring again for us as an organization, an ensemble. And we’re a more grounded, a more responsible group of people. We thought it would be fun … and come back to it as mature artists. I’m a dad now to two little girls, so I can’t help but bring a sense of responsibility,” Allen says. “I think it has some moral heft behind it, but I think it still plays like a fairy tale.”

Set in the fictional town of Radio Falls, young Rose — played by Paige Collins — must rescue a magic coin from the icy clutches of the Rome Witch to save her friends and family from being frozen in a perpetual winter. But when the coin is returned, and Radio Falls is rescued, the coin’s power inspires greed among the townsfolk.

“It always pleases me that young kids, and young girls specifically, come up to me and speak of the morals of the story,” Collins says. “They say, ‘This is what happened, and this sort of made me feel kind of sad.’

“Then, we can show them the prop or whatever they were scared of and tell them that it is OK that they’re scared of it,” she continues. “The show is sort of a fairy tale, but it doesn’t end in the happiest of ways. I hope they take away a certain sense of uneasiness.”

Collins says the relationship between the audience and the cast “sells” the story.

“The thing I love about the House Theatre of Chicago is that they put a lot of responsibility to the audience to use their imagination and fill in the blanks,” she says. “In this story particularly, there is so much physical stuff and movement, whole sequences where the storytelling is done without me talking. And when I do talk, I look the audience in the eye so that can go on the journey with Rose.”

Allen says the company likes to immerse the audience in the show.

“We’re trying to be this epic, grand story, but with really humble theatrical tools,” he explains. “You walk in, and the feel and look is like a black box. But this is really about the audience embracing the theatrical and imagination of the audience in creating this world. It feels like it’s happening all around you. All this crazy stagecraft feels like you’re sitting in the middle of the circus.”

“Rose and the Rime” is running through May 18 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., in Miami. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays (3 p.m. matinee Saturday, April 26). Tickets cost $45. Call 305-949-6722 or go to

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