Quick Q&A: Georgeanna Smith

The executive art director of experimental theater group No Exit will present her eccentric version of The Nutcracker at the Irving Theatre Dec. 7–21. We brought her out of her shell before the show.

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You can’t help but twist the classics, can you? 

I grew up seeing The Nutcracker over and over, so I was excited to direct my own take. I thought, instead of Clara’s sweet little dream, I’ll make it a fever dream—one of those creepy delusions you have when you’re a kid and sick. They’re not exactly nightmares. They’re just weird.

The story is kind of creepy to begin with. 

Right. The rat king visits and curses the baby, and then she spurns the Nutcracker? It’s a strange narrative. 

Do people ever misinterpret your version as a statement against the commercialization of the holidays? 

I’ve had people ask me that before—if I’m just not really into Christmas. But I absolutely am. My family loves the holidays. So I think my mom’s like, “Why do you do a show like this?”

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