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By Kathy Carpenter

December 2, 2019 (La Mesa) - I'm a traditionalist. I want each holiday to have its time. Thus, I refused to watch Christmas movies until after Thanksgiving. Plays...well sometimes, I have to go earlier; I usually need to go in the first couple days to review them and give them adequate time for people to read. In this case, Black Friday was my induction into the Christmas season.

This season, Lamplighters Theatre is offering up two short Christmas plays for one price. Christmas Past.- The Long Christmas Dinner By Thornton Wilder and A Child's Christmas in Wales By Dylan Thomas, both famous authors you probably recognize. The plays are directed by Courtney Flanagan.

The Long Christmas Dinner takes us through generations of poignant family drama at the same table as they celebrate Christmas dinner after Christmas dinner. As family members come and go, it’s a bit confusing at first until you get into the flow. But you soon see different family members taking on traits of those long gone. As much as things change, they remain the same.  Families are the ties that bind, especially at Christmas time.

The second production, A Child's Christmas in Wales was done in poetry fashion. One character would recites a couple of lines and then another character would recite, and so forth. It was a story of Dylan Thomas's childhood Christmases. Some parts are told as his older self and some parts as a young boy.

The cast is the same mostly for both, adding a couple of young boys for A Child's Christmas in Wales. The play has a large cast acting their hearts out--so much to remember and do. In the second play, the entire cast was onstage most of the play, with a few in and outs from different actors at different times. Everyone onstage was in constant motion, which put the director to the test, moving all those pieces without mishap, and having a fluid story. Kudos.

Did these plays put me in the Christmas spirit? There was a few Christmas songs and snow, but in this case, it was more of an inner reflection of two totally different kinds of Christmases and where you might fit in.

With such a big cast, I point out a few stand out performances. Emma Rotella played Lucia, the wife in the first generation, with dignity and aplomb. Joe H.Zilvinskis displayed his talents as Roderick, her husband, in The Long Christmas Dinner. In A Child's Christmas in Wales, Logan Yockey led the cast as the boy.

In a season of love, joy and family, make time for everyone.

Christmas Past

11/29 - 12/15

Lamplighters Community Theatre

In January:

God of Carnage

Drama by Ysamina Rezza and Christopher Hampton

1/10/20 - 2/9/20