2020-12-16

Christmas Spirit(s) alive and well with South Shore Players

by JUNE DAVIDSON

  • <p>KAREN RUNGE, PHOTO</p><p>Dan Jaworski plays Scrooge in Christmas Spirits, the 60th production of South Shore Players.</p>
  • <p>DAVID FRIENDLY, PHOTO</p><p>Cast members in the South Shore Players production of Christmas Spirits, left to right: Sheilagh Woods, Kelly Preeper, Anne Stockdale, Jon Allen (sitting) and Dan Jaworksi.</p>

For those whom COVID-19 has left feeling more humbug than ho-ho-ho, the South Shore Players (SSP) is offering up a seasonal antidote in the form of an energetic and festive production - Christmas Spirits - available online from December 18 to 26.

Unable to stage a live Christmas production this year because of the Grinch-like pandemic, SSP found an alternative way to bring theatre to the community.

"Theatre is all about being creative," says Colleen Naomi, SSP's artistic director, of the pivot to a pre-recorded show. "Whenever we come upon a stumbling block, we find a way to get over it. This is one example. We've put a show together that is as much like live theatre as possible.

"It's full of fun, music and humour. It's fast-paced and reflective of the merriment we usually offer in our Christmas productions," she adds.

With all local talent - six actors, three musicians and three crew - the production's lively holiday songs promises to have viewers singing and toe-tapping from its opening notes.

As with many seasonal performances, the show starts with a snarly Scrooge-like character, played by Dan Jaworski.

"We really want the community to know we're still alive and kicking, but in a different format," says Jaworski. "I really think people will thoroughly enjoy it."

Pushing back against Jaworski's steely "bah-humbugs" are three atypical Christmas spirits, each seeking the true meaning of Christmas. Their quest leads them to some unusual characters, including a tipsy fruitcake-maker and a frustrated spouse whose comedic rant about finding the perfect Christmas tree will be relateable to many.

Christmas Spirits is the 60th production for South Shore Players. The holiday show, presented annually since 1993, is a local favourite that draws between 800 and 1,000 audience members.

"This is our present to the community," says Jon Allen, a member of the cast and the president of South Shore Players. "If we had to do just one show a year, it would be the Christmas show."

Further details can be found on the internet at SouthShorePlayers.ca or the SSP Facebook page. While Christmas Spirits is free to watch, SSP invites viewers to consider making a donation to its 2021 Annual Fund in lieu of ticket purchases.

June Davidson is the secretary of South Shore Players.

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