To a degree perhaps unsurpassed by any other art form, live theatre can sweep the viewer into alternate states of perceived reality.
By encouraging audiences to suspend belief in the ordinary laws of earthly perceptions, theatre assumes an almost magical power to educate or to amuse.
This is the power of “let’s pretend” that allows us to believe in the reality of Buford, a Texan barbecue owner Scrooge-alike, in a hospital coma, being at the same time present and unobserved by other characters on the Trinidad Community Theatre’s stage.
This power of theatre magic to amuse has the audience laughing uproariously at his reactions to the slings and arrows that Buford’s wife and friends toss the poor guy’s way, as he is led to re-examine his past, present and future bad attitudes and misdeeds—(and given the outline of a path to his redemption.)
Theatre magic even has people forgetting that these characters on stage before their eyes are actually their friends and Trinidad neighbors playing adult make believe, and having fun doing it.
For an hour or two, Christmas activity stresses and holiday pressures are kept at bay by the off-beat antics of this Lewis Carol’s Night Before Christmas takeoff with a twist.
The bright and sassy script with spicy undertones was written by Phil Olsen, an all-around Renaissance man and athlete living in Los Angeles. Phil’s broad worldly experience and education allow him to liberally seed gems such as fluid French malapropisms into the lively dialog of free flowing wit. The cast handles Olsen’s lively dialog brilliantly. Not one syllable does the audience miss.
Imagine Scrooge transplanted to Texas and you have the timeworn story of a Meanie transformed by ghosts on Christmas Eve. The twist in the twisted Christmas Carol is — you guessed it — actually a tornado.
Buford Johnson (Louis Eodice) gets into an argument with his long-suffering wife Darla (Barbara Privitt) on Christmas Eve. Storming out of his barbecue joint he vows to go four-wheeling, gets hit by a tornado and ends up in a coma in the hospital.
Meanwhile, others join Darla in Buford’s Open Pit Barbecue Joint. There’s Bubba Pickford (Michael Lions) a gas station owner who has unsuccessfully chased Darla’s skirt for years and who calls Buford’s joint an “Open Armpit Barbecue.”
Pretty young Daisy Newcomb, (Nicole Burton) is an ambitious ex short order cook at Buford’s who seeks fame for her fried ham poppers and is lost in starry eyed admiration of barbecue sauce king Hank Walker (Nathanael McClasland) who used to date Darla before she married Buford.
None of these characters can see Buford, garbed in head bandage and hospital gown, as he sits in his rocking chair and reacts to all he hears they say. Of course they cannot hear him, and there’s where the best jokes begin.
And they don’t end until Buford has read his “to do” list of redemption. Director Cora Warrick keeps the level of action so amusing that time seems to fly by and the cast genuinely appears to be having a lot of fun. Judging by the applause and lingering laughter as people reached for their coats to leave, the audience had a lot of fun too.
At a post-curtain talk back, the actors answered questions and received praise from the audience members.
While none on that stage were born in Trinidad, all of them were attracted here by the character and ambiance of our creative little town, and the opportunities for self-expression that Trinidad offers.
Production Staff members for A Twisted Christmas Carol include:
Cora Warrick, Director/ Costume Designer, Set Design, Props
Janna Remington, Stage Manager
Fred Vaugeois, Sound Engineer/Set Construction
Danny Rubio, Lighting Engineer/Set Construction
Rene Vaugeois, Set Construction
Leisa Norris, Production Wardrobe
A Twisted Christmas Carol is as bright as the lights on the Trinidad Christmas Tree shining brilliantly just a block away. It will be presented only one more weekend, at 7 p.m. on December 13 and 14 and 2 p.m. on December 15.
Drop by the box office at 131 West Main Street, call 719-846-4765, go online at www.scrtheatre.com or follow Trinidad Community Theatre on Facebook for further information and details of upcoming productions.