Canebreak presents “A Christmas Story”

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 9, 2005

Demopolis’ local acting group, the Canebreak Players, has decided to stray away from the average holiday plays such as “A Christmas Carol” and “The Nutcracker” to add some comedy to the season with a production of “A Christmas Story.”

And in case you are wondering, it’s there. The infamous fishnet wearing leg lamp is included in the stage production of the holiday comedy, as well as many other small and large recognizable props.

“We made a lot of the props, big and small, ourselves,” Canebreak director Jan Wilburn said. “I think our production is very close to movie. We just can’t do the same special effects and the big difference is that ours is live.”

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Although Wilburn said the group was restricted by the size of the stage, the crew was able to build a two-story set and include all the big humor from the original 1983 film.

“I knew most people had seen it on TV already, but they were laughing so hard at the play, they had me laughing,” Wilburn said about the premiere Saturday night performance. “It went well, but we had a few bloopers. Nothing big though.”

Although the Players usually rehearse for about six weeks, Wilburn said they had to start earlier because of prop construction.

“We started in October and took about a week off. But we had to work longer than usual because of the props,” she said. “There were a million of props that had to be built so that we could rehearse with them. It’s a very complicated show.”

Andrew Gwin plays the role of the young Ralphie Parker and his brother, Stewart Gwin, plays the older, all grown up Ralphie who also serves as the narrator.

“The play is written by the same guy who wrote the movie. He wrote the movie first and then made the play,” Wilburn said. “And that’s the way he wrote it, so we’re just going along with the script.”

And even though the area residents make up an all-star Canebreak cast, the breakthrough performance goes to Demopolis High School principal Dr. Isaac Espy.

“The woman who plays the mom actually talked him into playing the role of the dad,” Wilburn said. “And he’s really good and wonderful to work with.”

After a successful Saturday night Christmas on the River performance the production is running tonight, tomorrow, both with a 7 p.m. curtain, and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

“It was packed…Well, not all the way packed, but it was wonderful,” Wilburn said.

Admission to the show is $5 and the Players are accepting donations to help replace the heavy black stage curtains.

“We hope to replace the blacks,” Wilburn said. “And we hope to get enough to keep the plays going.”