TIS THE SEASON -

Tree House Youth Theatre presents Let it Snow!

Seasonal production features two plays plus ‘silly and seriously festive pieces’

Wielding again a charming and unique theatrical style, Tree House Youth Theatre is gearing up to unveil its Christmas production Let It Snow! A Tree House Christmas.

The production runs Dec. 2-4 at the Scott Block, with curtain at 7:30 p.m. An additional show is set for Dec. 4 at 2 p.m.

Audiences will be treated to two one-act plays – The Sneezing Thieves and the world premiere of Brad the Cad both penned by artistic director Matt Gould. The show also includes other ‘silly and seriously festive pieces’ including The Boy Who Laughed at Christmas.

Altogether, Gould has been working with a cast of 18 on the production. Rehearsals began this past September.

Meanwhile, The Sneezing Thieves is based on a short story by Thomas Hardy, and actually had its Tree House premiere last year. Gould wanted to give the play a fresh look this time around.

“This year I’ve modernized it, because it was a costume piece last year. But I wanted to make it a little more contemporary.”

It’s set on Christmas Eve, but doesn’t carry all the conventional bells, whistles and sparkle of the bulk of Christmas theatrical fare. Still, there is much to enjoy in the production which carries themes connected to the Christmas spirit, such as the importance of family and generosity.

“For me this year, it’s more about really connecting to different aspects of Christmas,” says Gould.

“What I’ve created is, I hope, a more realistic feel of a family dynamic around this funny situation with this thief coming in,” he explains. “That’s where we went with it this year. It’s commensurate with the spirit I wanted to give it.”

Brad the Cad is about a boy who is injured in a riding accident and is then taken to the hospital. He has lived in a number of homes during his childhood, and therefore is a bit on the guarded side, shall we say.

“He’s got a wall up,” explains Gould. But as the play unfolds, a ‘crack’ appears in his armour and Brad begins to open up. “It’s very subtle and again in some ways has nothing to do with Christmas.”

In Gould’s adaptation, three other kids are added to the play along with the nurse. All have their unique and differing ways of contributing to Brad’s journey.

“Actually, it’s very moving. It’s going to be great – it’s a serious kind of play with this lovely lift at the end. It’s very touching. I think it’s meaningful.”

As was mentioned, Gould wrote the featured plays for this year’s show and absolutely treasures the process.

“Script writing for me is supernatural. I love just hearing the characters speak through me and off we go. I’d like to write more.”

Tree House Youth Theatre was created in 1988 and was the brainchild of Richard O’Brien who was head of the Theatre Arts Program at Red Deer College.

The aim of the program was to build theatrical interest and foster skills in the young people of Central Alberta. Tree House Productions ran during the College’s off-season using RDC theatre staff and students to support most elements of the production.

When O’Brien left both Red Deer College and Tree House, the organization moved into a new partnership with Central Alberta Theatre (CAT).

Gould, an accomplished and multi-talented artist in his own right, came onboard in 2005.

For tickets, email treehousetheatre@gmail.com or call 403-346-9399.

mweber@reddeerexpress.com

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