″Snowflake″ will delight children and adults alike.

January 9, 2008

By Kelly McCann
Citizen Journal, St Louis

Not a word is spoken, but the messages are clear. Internationally acclaimed actor and creator Gale LaJoye brings the joy of the human spirit to life in "Snowflake."

The Center of Contemporary Arts Family Series continues with the humorous and hopeful "Snowflake" Jan. 11 through 13 at COCA in University City.

LaJoye stars in the colorful one-hour play inspired by a real person known as Snowflake to the people in his hometown of Marquette, Mich.

Set in a vacant lot separated from society by a fence, Snowflake takes audiences into a magical world he has created for himself with discarded objects.

"The fence, which divides the stage, demonstrates how regular life in the city on one side is different then the side of the fence where Snowflake lives," LaJoye said. "It also represents how we are separated from other parts of the world and how we tend to put up a fence between us and those who have less."

The unique and heartfelt play explores issues of humanity, vulnerability and compassion with an entertaining and captivating approach.

"'Snowflake' is perfect for our Family Series, because it genuinely appeals to children and adults," said executive director Stephanie Riven, who selected this performance as COCA's Director's pick for the season.

"As we laugh along with this character, an inspiring story with a positive message unfolds. Snowflake reminds us that what is in our harts is more important then what we own,"

Snowflake interacts with toys that have become his companions, performing music and magic for his friends without speaking a word. At times, he appears to float in midair, including a ballet-type dance to "The Nutcracker" on skis.

"Part of the fun of the show is just seeing the actor perform," Riven said.

"Gale has unique artistic gifts and mastered special skills. I've never seen anything like it. He weaves different schools of theater, comedy, illusion and communication into this one short and surprising performance."

Without words, LaJoye said, the show requires strong visuals and simplicity. He transforms the simplest of objects and movements into magical moments using Chaplin-esque pantomime, clowning and puppetry.

"There are no bells, whistles or words, just pure acting with movement and emotion," LaJoye said.

While the story is not necessarily about homelessness, LaJoye said it does allude to the idea that life is fragile and we as humans are vulnerable. He uses humor to express these universal themes, and he helps us reflect on what is really important.

"It's always my first priority to entertain because through entertainment you can interject ideas," LaJoye said. "There are issues that are underlying, but the show is mainly to entertain, create laughter, pathos and emotion."