Tuesday, December 16, 2008
A Wondrous "Journey"
Aaaah, Christmas – the wonderful, magical time of year when we experience the season with the wonder of a child. Such was the delightful surprise that over 160 residents of Pine Valley and environs experienced as the Mountain Empire Creative Art Council's Pine Valley Players presented their first holiday production, A Journey Through Christmas, at Worthington Hall on the grounds of the Pine Valley Bible Conference Center on Saturday evening, December 13.
A Journey Through Christmas was written and directed by Pine Valley resident Dianne Holly (who also designed the extraordinary costumes!), ably assisted by Guatay resident Mary Aragon. Narrated by Christine Siders, the play chronicled Christmas celebrations starting with the Nativity, and proceeding through a Mexican Candlelight procession, a Victorian Christmas, a 1930's Depression-era family scene, and finished with a Soldiers' Christmas, represented by soldiers and their families from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War II, and the present-day conflict. Each tableau was beautifully portrayed by approximately 25 local actors ranging in age from children of seven years to some venerable and bearded Wise Men and a jolly Santa Claus.
Between and during the tableaux, the dozen singers of the all-female choir, directed by Teri Carpentier-Antti (who also provided the piano accompaniment), provided beautifully-sung Christmas selections. At the close of the play, the audience joined the choir in singing some beloved carols.
E and J were in two tableaux: the Victorian Christmas and in the final Soldiers scene as part of the Civil War family. E wore a gorgeous skirt of a shiny material that changed from green to red in certain lights (and was hemmed by hand by our dear friend Judith). J wore his "basic" (white shirt and black pants) with a green satin cravat -- both can be seen in the photo above as part of the Soldiers' Christmas. Although E played J's mother in both scenes, they only had lines in the Victorian tableau.
Before the production, the Free Teen Guitar Class (including J) of Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity, directed by Fr. Keith Acker, provided guitar music for those who were finding their seats and perusing the Art Ornament Auction. Many thanks to all of the local artists who donated the beautiful ornaments and to Marshall and Mary Chapman who organized the auction, and especially to Mark Aragon and Debby Alexander for lighting and sound direction, along with kudos to many individuals and groups too numerous to list here.
E and T (and J once or twice) helped create props for several Saturdays before the final production, but T was down sick on the night of the show, so only B was an usher at the front door, gtrreting playgoers and handing out the wonderful programs created by our MECAC Director, Judith Dupree. The inclement weather was a serious challenge as heavy downpours created flooding in parts of the prop room and in the parking lot. During the Saturday afternoon rehearsal, fierce winds blew over and broke a canopy that would have protected actors waiting to enter at the back door for the candlelight procession. Despite a rather shaky final dress rehearsal with several missed cues and dangerous weather issues, the performance on Saturday night was nearly perfect and was much enjoyed by all who attended.
Great appreciation and rounds of applause also go the Pine Valley Bible Conference Center for providing rehearsal space (along with the Pine Valley Improvement Club) as well as a beautiful (and warm!) production venue, and to our local advertisers and all who attended the play for their support of arts in the backcountry. And special thanks go to Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity for their financial support and for bringing up the Free Teen Guitar Class to strum some Christmas favorites before the production started.
A magical evening was enjoyed by all who experienced this first of what we hope will be many theatre productions of MECAC's Pine Valley Players in the Mountain Empire area.