On Stage

Under the Tree

A spectacle for the season

Attend

More:

WHAT: Under the Tree
WHEN: 7:30pm Thurs.-Sat., Dec. 17-19
WHERE: iDiOM Theater, 1418 Cornwall Ave.
COST: Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door
INFO: http://www.idiomtheater.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

For me, the Christmas season isn’t so much a secular celebration as it is a reason to cram as many weird and wonderful events into my December day-planner as I can. Some are designed to kindle the holiday spirit, while others remind me not to take it so damn seriously.

Last weekend was a prime example of what I’m talking about. In addition to showing up at Bellingham’s Grand Avenue Alehouse to witness a Friday-night smack-down of those taking part in both Santa Con and Krampus Con—a genial gathering of costumed revelers that had one Santa bemoaning “We were outnumbered, but at least they didn’t slaughter us!”—I also hosted a holiday brunch, did some downtown-focused Christmas shopping, watched a horse-drawn carriage carry crooning carolers past my house, and viewed Under the Tree at the iDiOM Theater.

While the last event mentioned seems like it might also fit into the “Gee, that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside” category, I’m pleased to report that is most definitely not the case.

Even before the performance started, there were a few clues that the multimedia show created and performed by On the Precipice Productions’ Ian Bivins and Angela Kiser wasn’t going to consist of the typical holiday fare.

A large black cloth covered most of the set, and behind it those who looked closer could see hints of a Christmas celebration in progress, including bricks, tinsel, a wreath and stockings hung by the chimney with care. The rest of Under the Tree followed the same modus operandi—glimpses of the goodness of what the holidays can represent, overshadowed by forces of the underlying ills of the world, such as greed and gluttony.

Kristopher Lopez opened the production as a Satanic narrator questioning those who celebrate Christmas in the face of such darkness, and promising those of us in the audience that we were about to experience a “spectacle for the season.”

He was right. For the next hour, I marveled at the way Bivins and Kiser had twisted their version of the holidays in such a delightful manner. With help from video projectionist Juliette Machado and sound fella Brendan Richard LaBotz, as well as the dastardly deity portrayed by Lopez, the duo took us on a fast-paced tour of what can only be described as the “anti-Christmas.”

I’m not going to delve too deep into the spectacles I witnessed on that chilly December night, but let’s just say that if you go see Under the Tree, you’ll never think of a turkey the same way again. The same goes for gift-wrapped teddy bears, egg nog, children’s tears, Santa Claus, and family feasts.

And because Kiser and Bivins are involved in so many aspects of the local performance scene—the real-life couple have collaborated with Bellingham Repertory Dance, Kuntz and Company, iDiOM Theater, and a variety of other area artists—all of their talents are front and center for their first full-length production.

This means that the series of sketches, songs and dances that are part of the performance are much more than a merry mashup. The show is a cohesive collection of scenes and videos that showcase what happens when Christmas doesn’t turn out perfectly, and it’s all the better for it.

In other words, while watching the show isn’t going to leave you with a “goodwill toward man” vibe, it will nevertheless entertain you.

Perhaps Satan (Santa?) said it best: “Take the trip for yourselves, and find out what’s under the tree.”

BoS
More On Stage...
Legally Blonde
Powerful in pink

When I was in first grade, one of my teachers placed me with a group of remedial readers despite the fact that I was already powering through Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books and could make my way through most encyclopedia entries—something my mother pointed out…

more »
Puppet Play
Some strings attached

Following a recent viewing of the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, I was reminded of how closely connected beloved PBS television host Fred Rogers was to his puppets—specifically, Daniel Striped Tiger, the soft-spoken resident of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe who came to life in…

more »
Playwright Spotlight
Two actors, one foot

By the time Lojo Simon’s One Foot opens March 14 at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, iDiOM Theater’s Dyo Festival—a five-week celebration of plays and stories for two performers—will be in full swing. We caught up with the playwright to find out what makes her tick. She’ll be in…

more »
Events
Today
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

12:00pm

Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

Artist Workshop

6:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Dig Into Spring

6:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Bellingham Reads

6:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

Avian Research

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Poetry Trio

7:00pm|Village Books

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Books and Brews

7:00pm|Village Books

Village Books
Tomorrow
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

12:00pm

Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

City Club Meeting

11:30am|Northwood Hall

Nonprofit Brown Bag

11:30am|St. Luke's Health Education Center

Hidden in Plain Sight

4:00pm|Mt. Baker High School

Dahlias Discussion

4:00pm|Blaine Library

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Fellowship of Fire

6:30pm|Everson Library

Art Talk with Wade Marlow

7:00pm|Dakota Gallery

Jared Hall Quartet

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Foghorn Stringband

7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

The Hunts Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Thursday
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Smart Business Summit

12:00pm|Pioneer Park Pavilion

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Exploring Equity

2:00pm|Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center

Happy Hour Thursdays

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Walk on the Wild Side Series

5:30pm|Firehouse Arts & Events Center

Monthly Wine Tasting

5:30pm|Old World Deli

Time Capsule Reception

6:00pm|Skagit County Historical Museum

Pub Run

6:00pm|BBay Running

Incognito

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Check out WA Discover Pass Backpack Program

6:30pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

House Concert with Carolyn Cruso

7:30pm|Chuckanut Center

Dyo Festival Finale

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Bos2 The Hunts Village Books Trove Web Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1