Writer of One-Acts, Short Stories, and Calico Lane
a 90 minute Holiday production
Two comical magpies, with a 25 member cast, guide the audience to observe winter Holiday traditions around the globe.
The play teaches lesser-known tales of La Befana and Circle of Wonder, in addition to some well-known stories and includes a chaotic display of Troll madness in Havier and the Trolls.
Traditions from China, Australia,
Mexico, Russia, Africa, Switzerland, France, Brazil, and several other countries are depicted.
A Holiday program would be incomplete without The Nativity, The Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.
And lastly, Santa appears to lead the cast and audience participation in singing Jingle Bells.
by Arlene Shovald
Special to The Mail
"Global Holidays," presented by Stage Left Theatre Co., brings a Santa sack filled with local talent to the stage at the SteamPlant Theater at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are available at the SteamPlant or Salida and Buena Vista chambers of commerce.
"Global Holidays," tells the story of winter holiday practices throughout the world, narrated mostly by two magpies --- Debbiy Cason and Menessah Nelson -- who cleverly carry the storyline from one country to another as they fly to different spots on the planet.
Playwright Judy Kiehart of Poncha Springs is a local real estate appraiser who has been involved with Stage Left six years, mostly working backstage making set changes and similar tasks.
"I've dabbled in writing through the years," Kiehart said. "That included a one-act play produced by Stage Left in 2005. Artistic Director Greg West approached me last year and asked if I could write something different about Christmas for 2010 when the theater would feature new works."
"Our goal was to come up with something to educate and entertain and have something the entire family could enjoy."
Kiehart began working on "Global Holidays" about a year ago.
"Most of my research was at Salida and Buena Vista libraries," she said. "The staff were incredibly helpful in getting children's books which were the basis for many of the short skits. The Internet was another resource for information.
As carolers sing "The 12 Days of Christmas," the audience is told the real story behind the carol during "Global Holidays." From left are Greg West, Victoria Ricci, Gayle Anne Dudley with Hayden Bevington and Ella Barnett in front. The holiday presentation is sponsored by Seasons Celebrations and produced by Stage Left Theatre Company.
Salida poet John Skinner wrote the opening verse recited by one of Stage Left's youngest protegees, five-year-old Hayden Bevington.
The Davis family portrayed by Denise Goetz and Albert Lionelle, and their daughter, Anna, played by Victoria Ricci, reveal much of the information as they discuss traditions among themselves and with Anna's romantic interest, Michael (Isaac Stacknonis).
As with most State Left productions, the talented bunch again plays multiple roles with director Greg West stepping onstage to portray several characters. Tales told by the magpies and the Davis family are fascinating, little-known traditions that audience members of all ages are sure to enjoy,
Versions of Santa Claus from throughout the world will delight youngsters and most will be surprised to learn Italy has a Christmas witch, portrayed by Gayle Anne Dudley.
"Global Holidays" is seasonal entertainment you won't want to miss. There is no doubt director West and playwright Kiehart accomplished their goal of a play that's educational and entertaining.
Gayle Anne Dudley as La Befana, Tte Italian tradition of the Good Christmas Witch.
Denise Goetz and Greg West tell the story of Baila and Moishe from the children's story, Moishe's Miracle.
The Circle of Wonder (a Native American Christmas Story), Isaac Stackonis recites The Night Before Christmas, the history of Kwanzaa, & the celebration of Hanukkah
Below: Comical magpies (Debbie Cason and Menessah), guide the cast and audience from country to country and through the mini-skits in Global Holidays.