Post-Holiday Thoughts On ‘The Nutcracker’

By Deborah Kennedy

Thoughts I had while watching my niece dancing the part of Chinese tea . . . or something.

The nutcracker looks like Orville Redenbacher meets Colonel Sanders. Also Bernie Sanders if Bernie Sanders had a goatee. Coincidence?

Are Donald Trump and the Mouse King the same person/mouse king? I’ve never seen them in the same room at the same time.

Donald Trump should never wear tights, but I bet he has worn tights at some point in his life — probably during the Ivana years.

The Ivana Years is a wonderful band name. Must remember to find said band and see if my niece wants to play tambourine to my clarinet.

Ivana is beautiful and classy and iconic, like a Czech-American Dolly Parton. What is Ivana up to now?

Probably authoring some sort of lifestyle site, but not the kind like GOOP and Draper James that aim for down-to-earth universality but succeed only in being condescending and out-of-touch. Ivana’s site would be the sort where you could order things no human would ever need or even possibly want, like Faberge tampons and diamond-encrusted diamonds.

My mom is voting for Donald Trump. I know it. Everyone in this room is a Republican. Except for maybe that dad playing Drosselmeyer. Did he just give Clara’s mom a come-hither? How many of the parents in this place are having affairs between Nutcracker performances and booster meetings? That other dad totally just grabbed Clara’s mom’s ass.

All the dads want Clara’s mom.

My mom is falling asleep already.

Fritz is good, but not Billy Elliot good. Do all boy dancers compare themselves to Billy Elliot at some point? And do they, as adolescents just beginning to form their own identities, surreptitiously try out new moves on their way home from school, all the while pronouncing “ballet” “balle-y,” only to stop, mid-leap, in embarrassed confusion because they are not Billy Elliot and never will be Billy Elliot?

I want boys to have choices. Right now it seems their future career options boil down to these: vigilante, cop, vigilante cop, human target, Uber driver, X-Men extra, president.

Where did they get the bear costume? From a local furry convention? How do furries do it? Furrying is a sex thing, right? How many of these parents are furries having affairs between PTA meetings and playdates?

When did playdates become the norm? Meetups are playdates for adults. Why are we incapable of interacting with people in a spontaneous and natural way? Could the Mouse King be to blame, as well as Wi-Fi, pesticides, childhood vaccinations, and gluten?

So many white girls in buns, so little time. What do white girls in buns dream of? Apparently, other white girls in buns. Is this what Bunheads is like? Can Bunheads possibly rival the cynical yet sweet and learned yet low-brow glory of Gilmore Girls when it’s all about ballerinas who seem to be made of cotton candy and twinkle lights?

Ouch. Not that one. She’ll be fine, I’m sure. Just a slight ankle sprain. What do they expect when they strew the whole goddamned stage with “snowflakes,” i.e. glitter that’s really just ripped up loose-leaf paper? Oh geez. Again. Poor thing. Someone put her out of her misery.

They shoot ballerinas, don’t they? Backstage and when the other dancers’ backs are turned?

Are we going to get shot later? If so, I should probably wake my mom.

In Scrooged, the Sugar Plum Fairy-type Ghost of Christmas Present comes into Bill Murray’s life straight from her role in Ballbuster. Would shouting “balls!” in a crowded theater full of upper-middle-class families be grounds for arrest? Would it at the very least get me kicked out before the vaguely racist dances start?

Straight Outta Ballbuster would make an excellent meme.

My mother is now snoring, albeit lightly, daintily, the way a fairy would.

Will any of these girls grow up to be welders? Welders with ballerina dreams? Chances are slim, I suppose, given that the blue-collar industrial milieu so expertly depicted in Flashdance is a thing of the past. All those jobs have been shipped overseas, along with our conservative value system and this year’s supply of gluten. This is a sad state of affairs. I want my niece to have choices, but her options seem to be ballerina, sexy witch, Lifetime Christmas movie ingenue, Uber driver, Merry Maid, or Secretary of State.

Ooooh, candy. Candy is good. Sugar plums, candy canes, chocolate. I’m hungry. Are the ballerinas hungry? That one doing her damnedest as Arabian Coffee looks hungry, like she could use a heaping helping of ginger bread and probably a sandwich. Is there a direct link between ballet and eating disorders? Will these small town fascists with their tawdry affairs and furry playdates and Romney/Ryan 2012 bumper stickers somehow turn my beautiful niece into an anorexic?



Illustration by Katie Tandy

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