A comical Christmas is coming to the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.
Two plays, “Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant” and “The Santaland Dairies” spotlight, respectively, a Christmas pageant gone wrong and a store department Christmas elf gone awry.
Two separate tickets are needed for the productions with “Owen Meany” described as family friendly and “Santaland” as more “after-hours” enjoyment.
Both productions open Friday, Nov. 30 and run through Dec. 15.
John Irving’s novel “A Prayer for Owen Meany” was adapted for the stage by Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre co-artistic directors Jane Jones and Myra Platt. WICA worked with the company to bring it to the Langley stage; Platt also provides musical direction.
When previously performed, it’s been described as “poignant, hilarious, and rambunctious” and one that manages to “transform great literature into great theatre,” according to a WICA press release.
Local actress Molly “Mouse” Quade stars as Owen Meany who turns the small New Hampshire town Christ Church Christmas pageant on its head with a series of miscues and mistakes.
“Somehow, the author manages to make the story about a tiny boy with a wrecked voice not only hilarious but deeply moving,” said director Phil Jordan. “Donkeys, shepherds, cows and a pudgy angel all contribute to the laughs as the Christ Child tries to keep the pageant from running off the rails.”
Also appearing in the play are Sienna Armstrong, Wendy Ashford, Ethan Berkley, Betsy Harvey, James Hinkley, Ann Johnson, Kayla Johnson, Kent Junge, Marla Kelly, Robert Kelly, Paul Mathews, Teresa McElhinny and Bridget Sievers.
Jordan added that the stage adaption of the novel “allows us to remember the loved ones who have gone before us and shaped who we are.”
David Gignac is the sole star for the hour-long “Santaland Diaries.” He portrays Crumpet, a foul-mouthed minion to a department store Santa, who rattles off a monologue of witty, wry commentary on the supposed “most wonderful time of the year.”
Based on the book by humorist David Sedaris and adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, this is a must-see for anyone with nary a dose of Christmas cynicism and for those needing more grit for their Grinch-ish attitude.
It’s a Christmas classic — for those who listen to National Public Radio, that is.
Sedaris first read his experiences about being a Macy’s elf on NPR’s “Morning Edition” in 1992.
A sampling of the monologue: “I wear green velvet knickers, a forest green velvet smock and a perky little hat decorated with spangles. This is my work uniform.”
“OWEN MEANY’S CHRISTMAS PAGEANT” is performed Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 30 – Dec. 15. Tickets are $22 for adults, $18 for senior, $15 for youth and $18 for military. Matinee admission is $15. n “SANTALAND DIARIES” is performed in Zech Hall, 9:30-10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 30-Dec. 15. Tickets are $5.