p.m., Dec. 8)
Christmas offering true to the spirit of the season
By Fred Sherwin
Smith plays the Dr. Seuss character everyone loves to hate in the OYP production
of 'The Mrs. and The Elves Tell Stories!'. Fred Sherwin/Photo
theatre season got off to an entertaining start this past weekend with the Orleans
Young Players production of The Mrs. and The Elves Tell Stories! at
the Shenkman Arts Centre.
play, which incorporates five different Christmas stories including The
Wind in the Willows, A Christmas Memory and Twas the Night
Before Christmas, stays true to the theatre schools 2010-2011 theme
of legends, stories and fables.
production opens with Mrs. Claus, played by Biz MacDonald, preparing to read a
story to the hardworking Elves. The first story she picks is the Dr. Seuss classic
How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
main character is played by Hayden Smith, who somehow managed to take a break
from rehearsing for Vintage Stock Theatres upcoming production of A
Dickens of a Christmas, to play the lead role.
production was a true ensemble with different members of the cast taking turns
to read the dialogue.
story is an adaptation of the childrens classic The Wind and the Willows
by Kenneth Graeme.
the sake of brevity, OYP artistic director takes two of the main characters, Ratty
and Mole, and has them search for Rattys home through the snows of December.
Mole catches a scent of his own home, he continues to follow Ratty rather than
ask his friend to turn back. Further down the path Ratty realizes that something
is bothering Mole and they end up turning around and going back.
the two friends find Moles old home they settle in and find bits of food
to celebrate the holiday season. As they begin to enjoy their feast,
a group of young field mice arrive unexpectedly. Rather than shoe them away, Ratty
and Mole ask the field mice to join them.
story of camaraderie, generosity and empathy is a wonderful message for the holiday
season especially in this age of mega-commercialism.
part of Ratty was played by Ian Stauffer, while Mole was played by Randy Bellini,
both of whom were amazing.
third story was a whimsical retelling of The Ninth Reindeer aka Olive
the Other Reindeer, in which Vintage Stock Theatre president and veteran actor
and director Marni Hunt-Stephens plays the grandmother and OYP parent Gordo Smith
plays the father in his first ever speaking role. Rudolph and Olive were played
by OYP veterans Petra Hohenstein and Samantha Lipovski respectively.
a brief intermission, the play resumed with the telling of Christmas Kites,
taking from the book A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote.
adaptation of Capotes short story tears at the audiences heart strings.
The story is about two cousins, one much older than the other, who grow up together
in the same house.
pair are very close and every year at Christmas they make fruitcakes and decorations
together. During their last Christmas together they give each other kites for
gifts and go fly them in a hidden field. The older cousin describes the kites
as what God and Heaven must be like.
younger cousin, whose name is Buddy, goes off to school the next year, and although
they continue to write each other letters, the elderly cousin slowly slips into
dementia and forgets who Buddy is before eventually passing away.
describes his cousins death as severing the string of a kite and he finds
himself searching the sky for a lost pair of kites hurrying towards Heaven.
Smith was marvelous as Buddy, as was Colette Budge who played his older cousin.
The rest of the cast included David Loveridge who played Buddy as the adult narrator,
and Lennis Poupore who played Mr. Haha.
the melancholic Christmas Kites, Twas the Night Before Christmas
was a welcome holiday tonic with the Elves playing all the main roles.
production wrapped up with a rousing rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
cast of Elves included Sam MacDonald, Hannah Beatty, Hannah Decker, Elyse Gauthier,
Sopia Hullin, Hailey Sterling, Olivia Lebouthillier, Melissa Baird, Allison Perry,
Petra Hohenstein, Alexus White, Sydney Smith, Smantha Lipovski, Vanessa Pauze,
Sam Loveridge, Grace Loveridge, Shae-Lynne Biersdorfer, Holly Norman, Madison
Bellini and Hannah and Julia Duhme.
the sound effects and musical accompaniment was music man Russell Levia.
up on the holiday theatre calendar is Vintage Stock Theatres production
of A Dickens of a Christmas which opens this Thursday night at the
Shenkman Arts Centre.
play stars veteran Ottawa actor Paul Rainville and such local notables as Sam
Stephens and Hayden Smith.
time on Dec. 9, 10 and 11 is 7:30 p.m. Two special matinee performances will be
held on Dec. 10 and 11 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children
12 and under. A special family rate (two adults and two children) is available
for $50. For reservations visit www.vintagestock.on.ca.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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