A Loco Viewpoint
A Story about George
I know of a fellow named George. There’s a good chance you know him, too. He’s a gentle fellow; widely respected in his community, a real family man. He had a good job as manager of a financial institution and was a true pillar of his community. To all outward appearances, George had it all; lovely, loving wife, adorable children, and a nice big house.
Then disaster struck. Money went missing from the accounts of the financial institution somehow. George faced scandal, maybe even prison, over a mistake he didn’t make. Tortured by his predicament, George decided to take his own life. He had resolved in his mind that his world, and everyone in it, would be better off without him. He went to a bridge over a raging river to meet his demise but was saved by an angel named Clarence. The angel was trying to earn his wings by changing George’s outlook and sought to show George Bailey what life would have been like without him.
I’m sure many of you recognize the plot to “It’s a Wonderful Life”; the Christmas movie that has been loved for generations. It ranks up there with some of the truly great, seasonal movies that have become part of our annual yuletide rituals, including “Scrooge”, “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Die Hard”. (Cupcake insisted on including the last one since she’d like nothing better than getting Bruce Willis for Christmas.)
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is such a great movie, and has touched so many lives, that the Calmar Prairie Players have decided to tackle the stage version as a fund raiser in support of the Calmar Christmas Elves. Produced in association with the Town of Calmar, our stalwart troupe intends to put the true meaning of “community” into community theatre. This is because, in order to staff all the acting positions, (we will require between a dozen and two dozen actors spanning every age), we hope to get each and every one from the folks in the greater Calmar area. As much as we appreciate them, our group wants to stage this production without having to depend on our wonderful colleagues in the Leduc Drama Society and Devon’s East of 60 theater group to bolster out numbers.
The Prairie Players are confidant the community will get behind the show, too. With 100% of the tickets going to our local Christmas charity, no one need be concerned about “administrative fees” eating up all the profit. The Calmar Legion and the Calmar Curling Club, staunch supporters of our past productions, have both offered a venue for the fundraiser as a show of solidarity for our effort.
The biggest selling point to the initiative, perhaps, and the reason we believe we will be more successful in attracting town folks to audition than our previous attempts, is that this isn’t your normal sort of play. You see, in most plays, there is a whole lot of memory work involved. The fear of “freezing up” onstage is a powerful fear, ranking up there with giant, hairy poisonous spiders or snakes on a plane. This production, however, is a “radio-play-for-the-stage”. This means the actors will have their scripts in front of them throughout the performance. For the audience, it will be just like watching an old-time radio show being produced. The thrilling story, crisp dialogue and hand-made sound effects create a “theatre of the mind” experience that makes it a fantastic evening of entertainment for the cast and crowd alike. So popular is this particular theatrical event, it is one of the top ten most produced plays in America. Having both seen the show, as well as had the delight of playing the part of Clarence the angel (among others) for an East of 60 run, I can tell you the play is a truly moving event. In fact, for me, it was too moving.
I recall on opening night, being onstage for the final scene where (spoiler alert) the party-like happy ending dissolves into a spontaneous chorus of “Auld Lang Syne”. Suddenly, it all became too much for me. The tears started welling and my nose started running. I wasn’t ashamed to cry in front of all those people but I began to panic when I realized I didn’t have a hanky. I was terrified I’d blow a mucous bubble out of one nostril for all to see.
I quickly shuffled myself to the back of the crowd of actors still belting out “For auld lang syne, my dears” and considered what to do. The second the lights went down, I seized my opportunity. I slipped out the door to the back stage area in search of something, anything to wipe my faucet-like schnozzle. I don’t know if anyone noticed Clarence’s absence during the standing ovation.
It says something about the power of a piece where even an actor who has been reading the play for months in preparation at rehearsals, can still be touched by the story. If your Christmas spirit has been flagging for the last few years, I guarantee, there is nothing better to rekindle the yuletide log in your heart than being a part of this amazing event.
So if you live in the area and want to try your hand at acting in this production, come to the Calmar Legion on September 12th for an information session at 7:00 PM. We will have another on Sunday at 2:00 for those that can’t make the Thursday session.
Come on, Calmar. Together, we can do this!
other articlesTrue Community Theatre
It’s A Wonderful Play
The Beaker Report
Halloween is Sweet
Just Call me “Tubby”
Shaggy Dog Tale
Encounter at a Funeral
It’s a Wonderful Life
Living Among Zombies
Jack & Jill Baby Shower
Pushing Mom Around
Sleeping was in Tents
A Luau To Remember
Zucchini Gang Rides Again