In what’s become something of a tradition the last three summers, I’ve been holed up evenings and weekends in the sweltering season playing Christmas music in an attempt to get in a festive mood early as I rework our show, Liken’s “The First Christmas.” It appears it has been invited back for its third consecutive season at the SCERA theater in Orem.
The musical portion will remain largely the same, but we’ll be changing things up for what we call “the bookends,” the story of the modern-day family that has the problem that leads to the retelling of the scripture story that helps them work through things on their way to a happy ending, thus reinforcing the “Liken” premise to our young audience members that there’s good stuff in those old books that still can be applied to their lives today. And the other Liken premise that everything is better when there’s singing.
Christmas 2012 version was about Amelia standing up for her choir teacher, who was dismissed for refusing to remove a religious song from the school’s “winter festival.” Christmas 2013 version was about Amelia’s family trying to find their way through their first Christmas without a close loved one.
This year, I’m exploring elements of the horror genre. Yes, the horror that occurs when a digitally dependent family arrives at grandma and grandpa’s house for Christmas Eve only to discover that (insert “Psycho” screeching shower scene music here) the internet is out and they have to reconnect with one another in ancient ways involving the lost arts of telling stories, touching, singing and talking to each other face to face in something called “real life” (sp?). Yikes!
I hope it is not too intense for young audiences.
In truth, this “overly wiredness” is something that has been much on my mind lately. For me, the best way to deal with stuff is to write it out. So I’m writing it out. If all goes well, this writing out will run from Nov. 21 to Dec. 15, 2014 at the SCERA in Orem, Utah. You should come. If you dare.
But don’t be too frightened; there will be singing. And everything is better when there’s singing.
Auditions are happening soon. Sept. 24 & 25, I believe. Details and cast breakdown to follow. If you’re an actor who can sing, or a singer who can act, you should definitely come. We need you to help us deliver this retelling of the Christmas story in all of its beauty. And horror.