I'm not sure why, but it seems that most of the theater companies in this area are opening their Christmas shows much earlier than usual. The two shows I saw this weekend were both Christmas shows opening before Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving, I'll be seeing "Miracle on 34th Street."
On Friday, we saw "In-Laws, Outlaws, and other people (who should be shot)" at the Winters Theater Company. Winters is a little town about 10 miles from Davis. It has a population of about 7,000 or less There is one main street, which runs about 3 blocks long, and the theater company performs in the community center, which is very much like a high school auditorium.
But I love these guys! They don't aspire to be more than they are--a nice community theater, emphasis on community. Sometimes they're good, sometimes they are not so good. Sometimes the cast has one or two good performers, sometimes there are more good performances. But they remind me of the Lamplighters in the early days...you love them because they love what they are doing and make no apologies about their shortcomings. They include everyone who wants to be a part of the company. They also usually do shows that you aren't likely to see on any big stage.
They also give the opening night audience cheesecake and champagne before the show. How can you not love that?
Friday's show opened with a children's chorus singing Christmas carols. But this wasn't any formal chorus, just a bunch of kids getting up and singing, more or less in tune, and between acts they did "Little Drummer Boy" with drum accompaniment. I couldn't help myself. I had to take a photo. They were just so darn cute.
The show was funny, too, about a quirky family being held hostage on Christmas Eve by two bumbling would-be robbers, who needed to hide out from the cops until the coast was clear. There was a predictable "aww shucks" ending that sent everyone home with a good feeling about the holidays.
Then today it was A Christmas Carol at Sacramento's B Street Theater. I was expecting a traditional version of the Dickens classic, and the set certainly did not indicate that it would be anything else.
But I should have known from reading that this was director Buck Busfield's interpretation that it would be anything but the classic story. A lot of the Dickensian elements were there, all right, but in this version, Scrooge is fed up with having to recreate his redemption story year after year ever since 1843 and he kind of takes control of the story and directs the ghosts. A little odd, but by the end of it, I was enjoying it.
Now we get a break to celebrate Thanksgiving and then see Miracle on 34th Street next weekend.
God bless us every one.