Let’s face it. Every child you’ve ever known wants a nutcracker given to her by a creepy old magician during a Christmas party infested by adults, whose only means of communicating with children is to shake their collective index finger at them, and with children, who for some unknown reason seem to be completely without any discipline. Not only does one child get a nutcracker but also all the other girls at the party get really nice dolls. For some reason, every boy at the party gets a stick horse and a hunting horn. And so you have the beginnings of a great holiday story that is The Nutcracker.
So for this yuletide, I thought I would tell you the strange and surrealistic holiday story that so many folks become enamored by from say mid-November to January 1st. I really am none too sure as to why, but many view this as a holiday treat that compares easily with sugar cookies and candy canes.
The story – or at least what I think is the story – of The Nutcracker is as follows.
Clara, a young and precocious girl on the cusp of womanhood, is at a Christmas party. There are a number of families and family friends who have gathered for the event which includes an inordinate number of children. Several of them seem to be spoiled. Invited to this party is also the creepy, old magician and apparently Clara’s godfather, Drosselmeyer. We know that Drosselmeyer is her godfather because the program tells us so. We now that he is a magician because he does some pretty bad party tricks. While the other children receive their gifts of dolls and horns, Drosselmeyer, who for some reason often wears an eyepatch, gives Clara the Nutcracker. Just like every girl who is on the cusp of womanhood, Clara falls instantly in love with the strange and bizarre wooden gift that is designed to shell walnuts.
Clara, after dancing with the nutcracker doll, has it taken from her by her little brother, Fritz. After a brief tussle over the doll, it is broken. Drosselmeyer, being a clever and creepy magician, uses a ribbon from Clara’s hair to repair the Nutcracker. We know, after all, nothing says “good as new” as a wooden doll held together by a bit of ribbon. Clara then falls asleep. She apparently has drunk some bad eggnog or the doll was laced with a hallucinogen by Drosselmeyer. Clara has a dream from the contact high that is one of the most bizarre dreams since Mary Shelly dreamt of Frankenstein. In all honesty, if I had this dream, I would probably wake up screaming.
Clara and the real boy –dammit – prince run off into the forest where they are led by the creepy, old Drosselmeyer to the land of candy. There, they are attacked by snowflakes. Apparently, snowflakes don’t like creepy old guys and real boys – oh heck, you know who I mean. Finally, they arrive in the Kingdom of the once wooden Nutcracker, and we reach the end of the first act – and also the plot.
The second act begins with Clara and the real – umm – prince watching dancing sugar plums. You know, like the ones in “A Night before Christmas,” but this is the first time they danced in anyone’s head. The plot now consists of people dancing for Clara and you know who. Following the dance of the sugarplums led by a fairy, Clara and the real prince – Ha! Got it! – are entertained by people from all over the world because of the victory over the Mouse King which converted the Nutcracker into a real boy –Shoot, I give up. We know this because the program tells us so. The many foreign and exotic dancers are Spaniards, Arabians, Russians, Chinese, Mirlitons, Gingerbreads, Flowers, and a Cavalier. I am not sure where Mirlitons are from so I am going to pick France. Yep, they are from France. They do not, however, resemble, Coneheads. (If you don’t get that joke, you really are young, aren’t you?) I suppose Gingerbreads dance because they are glad not to be nibbled on by the Mouse King and his minions. I figure the flowers are refugees having fled the killer snowflakes from the end of act one. I have no clue what happened to Drosselmeyer. I am not sure why there is also a Cavalier. The Cavaliers were supporters of Charles I. I know this because I looked it up. The Cavalier in the story apparently likes to dance with the Sugarplum Fairy. The bad eggnog or drug is wearing off and Clara awakes. Yep. After battling mice and being chased by snowflakes and having sugarplums dance in her head, she wakes up. The Nutcracker is once again the wooden doll that every girl desired, well desired until Barbie was invented. I warned you the plot progresses no further after the first act.
On a personal note, I once taught creative writing and I would have failed any student who wrote a story that ends with “and then she woke up.”
Here endeth the strange and surreal story of The Nutcracker. I hope you enjoyed it.