A holiday favorite, and TBS Christmas time staple, A Christmas Story, has been adapted by Philip Grecian and is currently playing at Lyric Arts in Anoka. The story of Ralphie, a nine year old boy growing up in 1940s Indiana, who just wants a BB gun for Christmas, is one that is known by many. Although it has been years since I've seen the movie, it seem that Lyric Art's production maintains all the nostalgia of the 1983 classic. It hits many of the classic parts of the movie, a kid getting his tongue stuck to a flag pole, the bunny suit, and the infamous leg lamp.
The cast of adults and children bring both the warmth and innocence that the story requires. Shana Eisenberg and Bill Williamson are both great as Ralphie's parents. They bring a lot of humor to their roles, particularly Wiliamson who brings hilarious physicality to his performance. The set designed by Brian Proball uses the space well, building the set up into multiple levels, placing the audience into a 1940s home. Large impressive set pieces such as a vintage car, and Santa slide are also used, transporting the audience into the time and around the town. A Christmas Story truly is a theatrical experience for all ages.
After the show the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers were lucky enough to share some Christmas Cocktails with the adult members of the cast. We were able to talk to them about their experience with the show and tour the stage space. It is always valuable to be able to have a conversation with the artists involved with the show, be it during a post play discussion or during a blogger event. As this was my first time visiting Lyric Arts, it was very nice to be able to learn more about Lyric and see all the love and energy that goes into all of their shows.
I want to end by saying a little bit about theater, and specifically the theater in the Twin Cities. Because the Twin Cities has so many theater companies we as a theater audience have a lot of variety to choose from when looking to see a show. In this we are very lucky, we can choose between drama and comedies, musicals and plays, light shows and heavy shows. As someone who sees a lot of theater, I find a great amount of value in seeing a variety of shows, I enjoy seeing shows that challenge me, and I work to engage when a show makes me feel uncomfortable. A Christmas Story is a show that made me a little uncomfortable. For myself, even though A Christmas Story is a heart warming nostalgic story, I was uncomfortable with the obsession with guns, and lines from a wife to her husband such as "you're always right." If you like me get uncomfortable in plays like this, don't brush it off or hide in the nostalgia. Ask yourself why you are uncomfortable and learn from it.
Thank you to Lyric Arts for inviting the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers to this production.