Children’s Showcase asks: Can you help Santa save Christmas?

Dufflebag Theatre invites audience into ‘Twas the night before Christmas

With just a month to go before Christmas, the Children’s Showcase is bringing a production of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland.

Related: Live children’s theatre back in Penticton and Summerland starting in October

Sort of. This retelling of Clement Moore’s classic poem is courtesy of Dufflebag Theatre, and their “zany” reworking is bound to bring a few smiles and an afternoon of great family entertainment.

Everyone is waiting for Santa’s arrival, but somewhere along the line, he’s mislaid the presents, and Old Man Winter seems determined to stop him finding where he left them. Is Christmas going to have to be cancelled? Not if Mrs. Claus, the reindeer and some volunteers have anything to say about it.

“Some of our audience members will be starring in the show. There is a lot of improv based on what they decide to do. The whole audience can participate in the show,” said Dufflebag’s Marcus Lundgren. Though “the odd grown kid” may make it on to the stage, it’s mostly the younger set chosen as the main actors.

“That’s what makes it so fun because you never know what they are going to do,” he said. “We know where it is going — beginning, middle, end — and then we give kids choices throughout the show. What they do is what shapes where we go with the story.

“You are dealing with all the excitement of presents and Santa and not being able to sleep. You take that and you bundle up all the energy the kids have and then you throw in our wrinkle, which is uh oh, he’s arrived at the house but he’s forgotten the presents.

“His number one ally, his main assistant would be none other than the indomitable Mrs. Claus. She really starts to get her time in the spotlight through our show.”

No two shows are ever quite the same, according to Lundgren. The troupe, which has been together since 1992 and performs over 600 shows a year, has lots of experience retelling classic tales with audiences, but sometimes…

“Invariably we are thrown things we just aren’t expecting,” said Lundgren. “We have ways or skills that we can deal with some of the things they throw at us, but we are never truly prepared.”

“DuffleBag Theatre are incredibly talented storytellers and their shows are filled with interactive antics that everyone will enjoy,” said Children’s Showcase organizer Melanie Walden. “We are thrilled to have them back to the Okanagan. Their shows are so much fun.”

Dufflebag’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas comes to Centre Stage Theatre at 2 p.m. on Nov. 25. Tickets are $12 and are available in advance at Tumbleweed Gallery, Penticton Arts Council office, Penticton Art Gallery, Oliver Veterinary Hospital, The Beanery (Summerland) or online at Eventbrite. Tickets also available at the door. For more information call 250-492-7997.

We always bring out own unique sense of humour to it, which means there are guaranteed to be funny twists, unexpected pop culture references,” said Lundgren. “All the changes we do, silly or not, we do it with great reverence for the source material.”

Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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