A Dylan Thomas Christmas in Carrboro | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

A Dylan Thomas Christmas in Carrboro 

click to enlarge A scene from the 2008 production of "A Child's Christmas in Wales" - PHOTO BY CECILIA DURBIN
  • Photo by Cecilia Durbin
  • A scene from the 2008 production of "A Child's Christmas in Wales"

A Child's Christmas in Wales

ArtsCenter Stage / Youth Performing Arts Conservatory
Through Dec. 20

As a rule, we don't review children's productions—holiday-themed shows performed by children for audiences filled with doting parents, extended families (whose dotage usually decreases the further they extend) and frenemies at school.

The reason should be obvious: Self-preservation. I get enough mail bombs as it is without added entries from incensed stage moms and dads (or their little Finsters and Finsterellas, for that matter). Besides, David Sedaris has already given us a pretty good picture of what such an exercise would look like in a hilarious essay "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol." Clearly, in that direction madness lies.

But we darkened the doors of Carrboro's ArtsCenter last week to examine the first fruits of their Youth Performing Arts Conservatory program, in a staged adaptation of Dylan Thomas' holiday classic, A Child's Christmas in Wales. The result: a show largely worth seeing—even if you don't happen to be first cousin once removed on the brother-in-law's side to one of the bright young faces on stage.

Producers Jeri Lynn Schulke, Emily Ranii and director John Feltch have clearly exercised care here. John Paul Middlesworth's loving set design quotes Ellen Raskin's evocative woodcut illustrations from the 1959 New Directions chapbook edition of Dylan's text. As a bonus, the evocative script incorporates into Thomas' inimitable prose poetry a number of ingredients: sometimes heartfelt (and sometimes silly) original music by Shannon O'Neill, vivid biographical information about Swansea, the Welsh poet's boyhood home, biographical details about Thomas himself, a non-Dickensian Christmas ghost story and an a capella Gaelic hymn sung in four-part harmony, among other things. The resulting production is richer as a result.

The stage work is anchored by four grown-ups: the avuncular Reid Dalton, Jillian Holmquist, who channels a Christmas-addled mother with panache, singer Susan Siplon and a crisp Gabriel Leal. By the end of the work, every adult and child has worn a long red scarf—and taken on Thomas' words as their own in a warm, funny and touching remembrance of Christmases past.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Comments

This looks wonderful! I cant wait until it goes on the road so we can see it in California!

by Michelle Nogales on Pioneering African-American Sci-Fi Author Octavia Butler’s Empathy and Foresight Take the Stage in Parable of the Sower (Theater)

Spelling error for one of the owners of RRE: it's Rebekah Carmichael, not Rachel Carmichael. Also, the shows run between …

by J Robert Raines on Raleigh Room Escapes Slips Through the Keyhole Between Room-Escape Games and Immersive Theater (Theater)

Most Recent Comments

This looks wonderful! I cant wait until it goes on the road so we can see it in California!

by Michelle Nogales on Pioneering African-American Sci-Fi Author Octavia Butler’s Empathy and Foresight Take the Stage in Parable of the Sower (Theater)

Spelling error for one of the owners of RRE: it's Rebekah Carmichael, not Rachel Carmichael. Also, the shows run between …

by J Robert Raines on Raleigh Room Escapes Slips Through the Keyhole Between Room-Escape Games and Immersive Theater (Theater)

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Oh, I'd be amused even without the in-jokes. These folks are having a great time, and the setting is transportive. …

by needsomeokra on Wants Upon a Time Is a Commedia Dell'arte Interrogation of What Happily Ever After Really Means (Theater)

The photo credit is incorrect. The photo was taken and edited by Areon Mobasher for Burning Coal Theatre Company. Please …

by Areon Mobasher on The Greeks Streamlines Sophocles’s Theban Trilogy Into Three Nimble, Strikingly Modern One-Acts (Theater)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation