Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Kaleidoscope: It Is What It Is

"Christmas Kaleidoscope," which has shows remaining on Saturday and Sunday at Showtimers Studio in Roanoke, is an old-fashioned community endeavor with absolutely no pretense of professional theater. This is one for the players and after the performance tonight, the whole large gang of them greeted the audience in the lobby, all giddy and full of the kind of joy theater naturally brings.

This is not to be confused with the type of quality theater we have become accustomed to in the Roanoke Valley (and sometimes I feel like maybe we're--I am--spoiled). It is, pure and simple, a pageant of the type you saw occasionally in the 1950s and of the scope you can see any holiday season now at any of the middle schools in Roanoke.

The Kaleidoscope didn't have playbills, so I can't tell you who was in it, but I didn't recognize anybody from any of the theater I'm accustomed. Most of the cast was comprised of youngsters. The director, whose name I also missed, explained beforehand that many in the cast were making stage debuts. It was obvious.

There were a couple of pieces that showed promise, but need development and editing--or better acting. Dwayne Yancey's piece about a Christmas ornament was the best written of the night (as you would imagine it would be. Dwayne is a veteran who shows up everywhere theater is done around here and his "Miss Cow Pie Bingo" will  be featured at Showtimers Jan. 3). Another piece about the Laughing Women's Book Club could well be a good comedy skit with some work. I apologize for not knowing the delightful woman who wrote and performed it, but, as I said, there were no playbills.

There was something charming about the effort, the enthusiasm and the obvious work these new players had invested. And, frankly, there was a lovely moment just before the closing when two tiny girls, maybe 4 and 5 years old, did a brief skit that was quite simply a riot.

Go to this one expecting what it is. You'll be disappointed otherwise. If you take it at face value, though, you may well be charmed.

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