If you’re still feeling a little light on Christmas Spirit as the calendar rounds the bend into December, there’s a play happening this Friday that’s better than a trip to a Psychiatric Help booth.
A group of young thespians, led by director Trevor Barker, will be putting on two showings of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” this Friday at La Place Rendez-Vous, and cast members Cohen Ossachuk and Alexis Latter said the whole group has been hard at work for the past month and-a-half to put on the best play possible.
“It has been really fun to put on this play,” said Latter, who plays Lucy in one of the show’s two casts.
“We’ve practiced every Sunday and Wednesday for a couple of hours.”
The show is a stage adaptation of the 1965 animated TV special of the same name, and Ossachuk said there won’t be any surprises for those who have watched and loved the original at any point since it first aired.
“This play is about Charlie Brown and a Christmas tree,” said Ossachuk, the show’s only Charlie Brown.
“It’s about Charlie Brown being depressed around Christmas and he will get happier by the end because everyone will try to get him to feel better.”
“It’s just the whole adventure of how Charlie Brown feels better,” Latter added.
Barker said that over the course of rehearsals the cast has come together, and with only a few days to go before opening, everything is running much more smoothly.
“I’m feeling a lot more comfortable now,” he said.
“People are off scripts, we’re having more fun with it, I feel. We’re just getting comfortable with the surroundings and there will be eyes watching.”
Speaking to the Times during a rehearsal last week, Barker noted there was still some work to be done before the show.
“We’re doing painting and sets and making props over the next week,” he said.
“And we’ll have that all ready for dress rehearsal in a couple of weeks from now.”
Both Ossachuk and Latter noted that the themes of the play, like how some people struggle with depression or loneliness around Christmastime, has made them look at the holidays in a new light.
“It makes me feel different about Christmas because this actually does happen to some people, and they do get depressed,” Ossachuk noted.
“Some people do get depressed around this time and sometimes they don’t know what to do about it,” Latter said.
“When me and a bunch of other people are just very happy about it, and it’s a wonderful time of year, so it made me appreciate it because not all people feel this way.”
Because of the number of young actors who turned out to audition, Barker wound up double-casting many of the roles in the show, which is part of the reason the show will run twice on Friday, once at 6 p.m. with the first cast and another performance at 7:30 p.m. with the second cast. For anyone who is looking to see a specific actor, Barker said there are ways to make sure you wind up at the correct show.
“The Rendez-Vous, where we’re selling tickets, has the cast list, so they can purchase right from there,” he explained.
The full cast lists are also available to view on the show’s Facebook event page.
With the show now only days away, both the cast and Barker hope that the public comes out to take in the show and celebrate the holidays and the hard work done by the cast and crew.
“I think people should come see it because all these actors have put in a lot of time and effort to present it to all these people,” Latter said.
“And people have put in time to build props, make costumes and everything.”
“I just want our community to come out and see how talented these youth are,” Barker said.
“Given the opportunity you can see how much they actually do shine on stage and how much young children thrive when they have arts performances like this.”
Barker also revealed that the GoFundMe campaign he started to help cover the costs of putting on “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was successful, which will help out with his plans for other shows going forward.
“Between [the GoFundMe] and ticket sales I feel like we’re going to break even,” Barker said.
“I’m super happy with how much support this community has given me, and I’m already thinking about the next show that I want to put on.
Tickets for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” are available at La Place Rendez-Vous. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.