Is anyone ever too old for the holidays?
My answer is no, but I think it is easy at this time of year for some people do get overwhelmed and some even cynical with the marketing that comes our way.
I am a huge fan of the season, but this year I have had a few setbacks—a car accident I am still recovering from and the passing of two very close family members, my grandma Betty Sawyer and my uncle Gord Sawyer, both within a month of each other this fall.
When those things happened, I had written the first draft of North Pole Stories but I must admit my view on Christmas this year changed. I wouldn’t be physically able to put it all together as in past years. I would be sad about the notion of celebrations without my lovely grandma and jokester uncle. The high-octane version of myself at Christmas was not going to happen this year.
That’s when I decided to reshape what I wanted to do with North Pole Stories.
I remembered what I loved most about my family at Christmas and what made the 10-year-old version of me happy at celebrations with them—food, classic movies, games and laughter. Oh, the sweet, wonderful laughter of our family is what I adored.
My grandma also took to Christmas to recount our favourite family stories. I am so grateful to have recorded her voice retelling some of them.
So in the next draft of my play, I put all of my holiday favourites in, sort of like a Christmas version of Shrek, with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Elves encountering a 10-year-old boy who thinks he is too old for Christmas.
Determined to change his mind, they act out their favourite stories, which include Christmas' most popular characters and songs. There are twists and turns as in any good tale, with funny hidden references, but in the end, it is all about family.
North Pole Stories features a talented all-ages cast of performers, many who have been part of our holiday shows over the past 10 years including Josie Morrow, Kimberly Billinton, Elizabeth Flowers, Chuck Peeren, Lyndon Blacklaws, Kennedy Bollhorn, Harsh Hundal, Eddie Beaumont, Hayden Carmichael, Tiffany Horak and Gavin Nahachewsky.
My son Reid, who often is backstage, even plays a role and as always, my husband Derek has created a magical set that will be a showstopper. My team behind the scenes, Matt Costello and Ozzy Olsen, as well as the RCA staff bring it all together beautifully.
Even though this year has been a difficult one, ultimately it is the incredible stories and support of my family, on stage and off, that is helping make this one sweet.
I hope you will see North Pole Stories at the Rotary Centre for the Arts fromDec. 8 tp Dec. 17. Shows are at 7 p.m. nightly, with student matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available at rotarycentreforthearts.com
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.