Archive for Thursday, December 16, 1999

ELVES, SHOEMAKER SPARK HOLIDAY MAGIC

December 16, 1999

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Gather the children and head to Liberty Hall for a little bit of holiday magic with the Seem-To-Be Players.

A grouchy shoemaker and a refuge orphan are going to find a little magic this holiday season.

Add in a cruel tax collector, a friendly tailor and a handful of elves, and you have the Seem-To-Be Players holiday production of "The Elves and the Shoemaker."

Starting tonight, the Seem-To-Be Players are turning Liberty Hall into a shoemaker's shop in war-torn Europe for its retelling of the fairy tale.

"The shoemaker is kind of a grouchy, Scrooge-like character," said Ric Averill, the play's writer, director and shoemaker.

The shoemaker unwillingly gets an apprentice, a refugee named Peter, played by Taylor Worthington. Each night, elves come and make shoes for the shoemaker, whose heart gradually softens toward his apprentice.

"It's a really fun piece," Averill said. "Its origins go back to the origins of the Seem-To-Be Players."

The 20something company performed the "The Elves and the Shoemaker" as a holiday pantomime several times in its early years. This year, Averill pulled the story out and dusted it off.

"I just decided I wanted to do something other than 'A Christmas Carol.' So he expanded the original pantomime into a full-script, full-costume production. This time I created a story that is more complex than the pantomime was."

Averill was still working on the play last week, changing lines and perfecting the script.

"We haven't dealt with this piece for a very long time," he said. "It's always been a favorite of ours."

The play will have a live score, provided by area musicians.

"It's not a musical," Averill said, although there is a bit of singing.

The play is a family production, with elves ranging in age from 5 to 25. Few parents are performing with their children. And in the audience, he said, will be parents who saw one of the original pantomimes with their children.

After 27 years, that is happening more often at Seem-To-Be Players shows.

"It's really one of my favorite things," he said. "It happens more and more these days."

In addition to Averill and Worthington, other cast members are Jennifer Glenn, who designed the costumes, as the wealthy Madame Grotsky; Margaret Perkins-McGuinness as the Queen of Elves; Kate Naramore as the Elfin Princess; Jeff Blair as the friendly tailor; Briahn Simons as Little Bit; Trisha Simons as Theodora; Hugh Naughtin as the guilty solider; and Ely Fair as the cowardly Trescott.

The set was created by Chris Johnson, with lights by Tony Bernall.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.



HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT

What: "The Elves and the Shoemaker," by the Seem-To-Be Players.

When: 7:30 p.m. today-Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Where: Liberty Hall, 642 Mass.

Tickets: Available at the Lawrence Art Center, 200 W. Ninth, and Liberty Hall.

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