Two Christmas plays open at The Legion Theatre Friday
by Marie Nesmith
Dec 01, 2010 | 1794 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dave Boggess rehearses a scene from “The Scrapbook: A Modern Christmas Carol.” As Gary Rose, Boggess remembers a special Christmas with his daughter, portrayed by Grace Barnett.
Carolyn Choe/Special
Dave Boggess rehearses a scene from “The Scrapbook: A Modern Christmas Carol.” As Gary Rose, Boggess remembers a special Christmas with his daughter, portrayed by Grace Barnett. Carolyn Choe/Special
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With "The Scrapbook: A Modern Christmas Carol" being his first full-length production, Cartersville playwright Raymond Fast is delighted that it will be premiering in his hometown theater Friday evening.

"I'm very excited about it," he said. "I was actually at a rehearsal last night and caught a glimpse of it and I'm really pumped about it.

"When I have a play produced I like to see it for the first time on opening night. I try to stay away from the production process in the meantime. So it's going to be a surprise for me just like it's going to be for everybody else there that night and I'm looking forward to that."

Directed by Laura Demain, "The Scrapbook" will be presented by The Pumphouse Players at The Legion Theatre Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 5 and 12 at 3 p.m. The play -- one of two holiday offerings from The Pumphouse Players -- features a 22-member cast, with Dave Boggess and Stacey Bern portraying the featured roles of Gary and Micki Rose.

"It's just a warm story that kind of puts things into perspective," said Fast, who describes his play as a retelling of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." "During the Christmas season, we get caught up in the whole celebration [aspect] -- gift giving, entertaining -- and [the play] just kind of puts the focus on family and what family is really all about. In a nutshell, the main character, Gary Rose, has recently undergone heart surgery. The medical expenses involved with that cause him to have to give up his business. They lost their home and pretty much everything they had -- he and his wife.

"Their children are grown and live in other parts of the country and they're used to entertaining their kids and grandkids at Christmastime lavishly. And he's depressed because he can't do that anymore. He actually decides he doesn't want his children coming home for Christmas because he can't entertain in the way he wants to. Then he learns his lesson from memories that come to life onstage from looking at a scrapbook his wife gives him at Christmas."

The Pumphouse Players' production of "The Scrapbook" is dedicated to the late Don Kordecki, who was a founding member of the theater group. The play also is being submitted for the Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre Awards' Original Works category. The MAT awards recognize plays and individual performances in community as well as non-union professional theater.

In the Pumphouse Players' second holiday offering, "The Santaland Diaries," patrons will gain insight into what it is like to be a Christmas elf at New York City's Macy's department store. The adult-only comedy's story is taken from the firsthand accounts of the production's playwright, David Sedaris.

"What I enjoy most about this play is that it's funny and it's for the adults," said the play's director, Carolyn Choe. "It's from a grown man's perspective who has to work as an elf. He has to, he has no other job. And so you get to see the parts of Christmas that are funny.

"You get to see yourself. I'm sorry to say that I've seen myself in a couple of the characters, like the parents who are trying desperately to get their children to sit on Santa's lap and get them to smile and capture that perfect Christmas moment. So it's funny. It's not like your traditional happy, family play. It's [a play where] the parents can go and just relax and actually laugh at themselves, I think."

Traditionally presented as a one-man show, The Pumphouse Players' production will feature a six-member cast, with Bob Smith portraying Crumpet the Elf. He is joined by Peg Thon, Karen Ruetz, Chris Sawyer, Mike Davis and Connor Choe, who play a variety of roles.

"It's based on an essay so usually it's traditionally done with one person," Choe said. "But the Horizon Theatre down in Atlanta adds a couple other ensemble people. We actually have five other ensemble people to kind of flesh it out and make it a little more visually interesting because sometimes it comes across as a staged reading. But visually these people act out all the parts and it is so hilarious."

Also held at The Legion Theatre, 114 W. Main St. in Cartersville, the comedy will be presented Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 9 p.m. Since the play contains mature content, "The Santaland Diaries" is designed for an adult audience.

Advance tickets for each holiday offering are $15 for adults, and $12 for senior adults, students and Pumphouse Players' members. At the door, all tickets are $18. For the opening night performances, tickets are $10 per show.

For more information, visit www.pumphouseplayers.com or call 770-387-2610.