Central Alberta Theatre is venturing into fun and compelling territory for the troupe’s Christmas show. After all, it’s not every holiday-themed show that includes a couple of murderers and a swindler as key members of the cast.
Directed by Heather Shatford, My Three Angels runs at the Memorial Centre Nov. 22-24, Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 6-7 with curtain at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances run Nov. 25 and Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. as well.
In Samuel and Bella Spewack’s comedy, which is set in 1910, Joseph, Jules and Alfred aren’t having much of a Christmas.
They are three Devil’s Island convicts on a work-release program, spending the holiday fixing the roof at the Ducotels’ home near French Guiana.
But that hole in the roof is a gateway to some fascinating information on the family housed up inside. For one thing, they learn that Felix, the husband and father, is a nice guy, but an awful businessman.
According to a play’s synopsis, thickening the plot further is that “On the way from France is an evil-minded cousin who is on his way from France to oust the father of the family from his business, and his cold-blooded nephew who is jilting the father’s daughter, Marie Louise, for an heiress.”
The prisoners decide to help both solve these problems. “They set matters right and redeem themselves as real-life angels to the grateful family.”
They know how to get what they want because they’re common criminals loaded with ‘common’ sense.
“It starts on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, then the second act takes place in the middle of the night and the last act is Christmas morning,” explains Shatford, who has been at the helm of several CAT productions over the years as both director and stage manager. “(The convicts) like the family, and want to help them out.”
Shatford has been guiding a cast of 10 – some experienced CAT veterans including Michael Sutherland and Jeff Challoner, and a few newcomers which makes for a nice mix and the troupe has blended very well, she said.
My Three Angels was eventually made into a movie called We’re No Angels starring Humphrey Bogart. “It’s got a smart sense of humour. And it’s a little more subtle,” she said of the script which was published in 1952.
For Shatford, being back in the director’s chair has been a hoot.
“You see how it’s coming together, you’ve got the laughs and the camaraderie with everybody. And there’s that sense of satisfaction in that what you have pictured in your head you are actually seeing up on stage.”
Tickets are available by calling the Black Knight Inn at 403-755-6626 or visiting www.blackknightinn.ca.