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Ballet Zurich’s avant garde performance of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” (“Nussknacker und Mausekonig”) will screen Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. at The River Street Theatre in Jaffrey.

JAFFREY — The innovative Ballet Zurich’s production of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” will be shown in high definition at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the River Street Theatre, 6 River St., as part of the Stage2Screen Series.

The plot is based on a novella by E.T.A. Hoffmann, one of the most famous writers of German Romanticism. The scenes bring to mind the scenes of a splendidly decorated Christmas room, dancing snowflakes and the waltz of the flowers.

But while Hoffmann’s masterful fairy tale virtuously jumps back and forth from a dream to reality, in its adaptation as a ballet libretto by Alexandre Dumas and Marius Petipa it has lost much of its dark romantic fantasy.

Christian Spuck attempts to distance himself from the Dumas/Petipas version in his choreography, putting the literary origin at the heart of his ballet by emphasizing the fantastical nature of the original rather than the Christmas fairytale. He brings back the details about princess Pirlipat, who turns into a nut monster, as told by Hoffmann.

In Rufus Didwiszus’ stage setting, the workshop of the godfather Drosselmeier turns into an old revue-theater, where the characters of the ballet come to life. Spucks’ choreography plays with the richness of characters in Hoffmann’s narrative cosmos, as well as the absurdity and overwrought humor that inhabit them while, at the same time looking down into the dark abyss of Romanticism.

Tickets are $10-$15. For details, call 532-8888 or 866-811-4111 or go to riverst.org.