Live theater is gradually returning.
After a long period of productions optimistically planned to eventually be canceled, and theaters navigating the technical difficulties and stressful stakes of virtual livestreams, it is true that live theater is returning.
Meadville is no exception to this rule. Many of our local theaters are planning, if they haven’t already produced, productions for 2021 and even 2022. However, one of the last to get back on its feet has been children’s theater outside of school. Children’s theater comes with its own challenges, regardless of the current pandemic.
While facing busy schedules and unpredictable circumstances, the French Creek Community Theater has planned a holiday variety show.
It would be wrong to say that it came easily. Some things came back to us naturally, others didn’t. By November, however, we had made progress. We had a distribution list, we had directors, we had songs and skits.
We had a show.
We even had a student-led show. With high school students Kelsey Cole (âA Christmas Carolâ, âRegiftâ skets), Emilie Weaver (musical director, âHomicide for the Holidaysâ sketch), and Rachel White (âThe New North Poleâ, âRegiftâ skets) Taking Up front, with juniors Zoe Hansen (âTwelve Days After Christmasâ screenplay) and Brenna Palmiero (âCoronativityâ screenplay), we put together a variety show filled to the brim with – well, variety.
French Creek Community Theater, “where everyone has a role to play,” is all-inclusive, meaning that every child who auditions has a place in the cast and a role just for them. We pride ourselves on being a safe and creative space for young actors to express themselves and find community and a sense of belonging. This spirit was omnipresent in our “Comedy Christmas Comeback”, despite the fact that the show was performed under unusual circumstances.
The cast includes the aforementioned student directors, as well as local FCCT actors Donald Dudinsky, Ella Dudinsky, Nathan Heim, Arianna Palmiero, Faith Peterson, Natasha Mauser, Alex Rogers and Laurel Steudler. The show also includes cameos from FCCT graduates and alumni Zach Hansen, Maja Heuchert and Skylar Morrell. Every member of the cast has worked hard to bring the series to life.
It was a stony road to get there. We lost cast members to illnesses and scheduling conflicts, we recruited liners at the last minute, and there were definitely times when the cast and the creative team felt overwhelmed.
But we didn’t give up on this show and on December 17th we felt ready and fully prepared. Well, maybe not quite prepared, but excited nonetheless. And won’t the passion for our profession compensate for the obstacles on the road that the public witnesses? This show wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of our young cast members, and the guidance and support of our parent-led creative team, including costumes, light and sound, publicity, set design. , the coordination of the show and the stage crew.
The “Comedy Christmas Comeback” features six sketches, three originals (that’s right, they were written by an actor, you’ve never seen them before!) And three modern take on holiday classics. “The New North Pole”, “Regift” and “Homicide for the Holidays”, written by Emilie Weaver, are joined by “A Christmas Carol”, written by Charles Dickens and adapted by Andrew Pavey, and presented via Drama Notebook, “Coronativity “Written by Barry Brannen and presented by Dramativity, and” The Twelve Days After Christmas, written by Frederick Silvers. In between sketches, watch solo performances by our cast members!
The show was performed and recorded on December 17 with a limited audience consisting mostly of family members of the actors. An audience always helps performers feel more comfortable, as they are able to respond to their responses, gaining confidence through laughter or the pride of applause.
The video recording of the variety show is now available on YouTube. Search for âFCCT Presents Comedy Christmas Comeback,â find the link on the French Creek Community Theater Facebook page, or type the link on youtu.be/MX7x1pjK9Rk.
There will soon be a separate download of the video which provides closed captioning. Please excuse any technical difficulty. As you know this show was produced on a much smaller scale than usual and was led and led by students, but we are very proud of what we have achieved especially with limited resources and while staying aware of the ongoing pandemic.
Emilie Weaver is one of the FCCT student directors Comedy Christmas comeback.