Chicago Tribune

Jacobson gives life to children's nightmares in horror-inspired 'Nutcracker'

Victoria Jacobson (right) rehearses for the holiday horror play "Nutcracker Nightmare," which opens on Friday, Dec. 8.

Victoria Jacobson (right) rehearses for the holiday horror play "Nutcracker Nightmare," which opens on Friday, Dec. 8.

In Victoria Jacobson’s book, things that slither along the ground are scary. Dolls are not. And yet in her latest role as Zipakna, a worry doll that comes to life and terrorizes the Stahlbaum family in “Nutcracker Nightmare,” she is tasked with making an audience think just that.

“The biggest challenge was trying to find the balance between doll and creepy in a movement sense, Jacobson said. “What I consider to be bump-in-the-night scary are things that slither or move lower to the floor, while a doll would not necessarily be the type of creature to do so. Exploring a spectrum of movements in that sense is something that I worked on the hardest.”

Read more about Jacobson and her work in The Chicago Tribune and the Lakeview Patch.

Nielsen takes on the (red) mantle for iconic Nutcracker role

Cary native P. Tyler Nielsen (second from right) rehearses for "Nutcracker Nightmare," which opens this week.

Cary native P. Tyler Nielsen (second from right) rehearses for "Nutcracker Nightmare," which opens this week.

Words may be the weapon most closely associated with an actor's trade, but for P. Tyler Nielsen taking on the iconic role of The Nutcracker in "Nutcracker Nightmare" meant acting with his body…and with actual weapons.

"I love the physical challenge of portraying such an iconic character who has so few lines," Nielsen said. "There is much to convey without the chance to verbalize the Nutcracker's internal journey.

"In addition, the chance to discover how a nutcracker might move, fight and express love is a joy," he added.

Read more about Tyler and his work in the Chicago Tribune or the Crystal Lake Patch.

Probing what makes characters live on stage is the latest challenge for Pereira

Jason Pereira (rear, center), stars as The Son in Ghostlight Ensemble's production of  Six Characters in Search of an Author  through May 7.  (Photo by by Katie Jarecki)

Jason Pereira (rear, center), stars as The Son in Ghostlight Ensemble's production of Six Characters in Search of an Author through May 7. (Photo by by Katie Jarecki)

Exploring what makes fictitious characters come alive for audiences and readers was part of the draw and the challenge in actor Jason Pereira's latest role as The Son in Ghostlight Ensemble's production of Six Characters in Search of an Author.

"What challenged me is also the thing I love the most about the play as a whole, it really makes you think about the actual 'life' of a character," he said.

Read more about Jason and his work on Six Characters in Search of an Author in the Chicago Tribune.