A Christmas Story, a play by Philip Grecian based on the classic 1983 movie, opened at Rosebud Theatre on Nov. 1.
Ralph Parker, played by Aaron Krogman, narrates for us through the re-enactment of his most memorable childhood Christmas, 30 years ago. Ralphie, played by Rebbekah Ogden, is nine years old that year in the 1950s, growing up with his mother (Glenda Warkentin), father (Nathan Schmidt) and little brother Randy (Silas Winters). That year, Ralphie wants a BB gun for Christmas. In fact, he doesn’t want anything else.
Everyone – from his mother to his teacher to his classmates to Santa – warns Ralphie, if he gets a BB gun, he’ll shoot his eye out.
But Ralphie hatches a plan to convince his parents that a BB gun is the best possible gift. His plan proceeds, but everything else goes wrong. The furnace explodes. The neighbour dogs chase his dad. His dad displays an embarrassing prize in the front window. The teacher hands out a big writing assignment. And Ralphie ruins all hope of getting the only thing he wants. But, because of grace, Ralphie gets what he needs – and maybe what he wants as well.Love, the grown-up Ralph reminds us, is what Christmas is all about.
All the cast members – with the exception of young Silas Winters – as well as several of the crew, are either graduates or students of Rosebud School of the Arts (RSA). Their director, Paul F. Muir, is also RSA’s education director. Their performances make these ridiculous characters relatable, and give us a laugh-a-minute all the way through the show.
We laughed at the father who’s not the brightest bulb in the string of Christmas lights. We laughed at the family’s problems with their furnace – and how they consider it perfectly normal. We laughed at the Peter and the Wolf music (with sound design by Paul Zacharias) that plays when the school bully comes out – and how he makes the other kids run scared. And we laughed at the extremes young Ralphie goes to, to convince his parents to buy that gun.
That laughter is even better than the sweet loving message of A Christmas Story. It’s silly. It’s zany. It’s ridiculous. And the best reason to see the play is the opportunity to share that laughter for two full hours.Whether you’re young or old or in-between, whether you’re hopeful or cynical or just plain tired, and even if you’re stressed or grumpy, the laughter of A Christmas Story will do you good.