Of schooners and Santaland
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
The powers that be at the Bellingham Theatre Guild want to ensure that while dealing with the stresses of the season, you’ll have at least a couple of opportunities to step away from your to-do lists—whether they have to do with whose names will be entered into your annual Christmas cookie distribution database or what to feed the 18 friends and family who will descend on your doorstep for the holidays—and direct your attention to their stage.
The first opportunity comes in the form of a play called The Christmas Schooner, which opens the night after Thanksgiving and shows weekends through Dec. 10.
What makes this critically acclaimed production stand apart from other fare showing on local stages this time of year is that it’s based on a true story. The musical about the first Christmas tree ship and the family who risked their lives to fill Chicago with the spirit of the season begins in 1881, when the patriarch of a German family now living in a small lumber town on the north coast of Lake Michigan decides he wants to use his schooner to deliver pine trees to former German residents now living in the big city—where the trees are scarce.
For many years, the Molly Doone risks dicey winter weather to make the voyage, but eventually tragedy strikes and the family must make a difficult decision—whether to keep delivering the harbingers of Christmas, or never celebrate the season again.
You’ll have to attend the play directed by local Earl Reid to find out what life lessons can be gleaned from The Christmas Schooner, but know that the original and traditional songs you’ll hear will help move the heartwarming action along.
For another true take on the season, show up for a decidedly more laugh-inducing offering in the form of “Lend Us Your Ears,” a new reading series beginning Sat., Dec. 2 with a pay-what-you-will performance of humorist David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries.
Based on Sedaris’ hilarious and cynical journey as an adult elf at Macy’s during the height of the busiest shopping season of the year, the staged reading directed by Sean Walbeck will feature local actor and filmmaker Eliott Glasser as a put-upon elf who has no idea what he’s in for.
According to a recent press release, The Santaland Diaries “contains adult language and situations and is not suitable for children or adult audience members who still believe in Santa.” So leave your kids—and your lists—at home, and come spend some time in Santaland.
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