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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Review: A Christmas Dream

A Christmas Dream, a play
book by Janet Elaine Smith & script by Billie A Williams.

Susan Quincy has declared Christmas 'off limits'. Her three-year-old son, Jeremy, has never seen his father who died in Desert Storm before he was born. Jeremy dreams of a Christmas of happiness for his Mom -- he believes in Miracles and that they can happen, especially, at Christmas. Kevin Docketer and a certain Santa try to help Jeremy with his dream. Will it be enough?

This three-act play sets off sharing a hint of the seriousness to come, with the joy of a Christmas passed. Quite unusually for a holiday presentation, it is contemporary. The working mother whipping up cocoa from a package and microwaving popcorn gives a just-next-door feel to the events. It is quite early on that the audience realizes the depth of this tale, as the main character is a widow of Desert Storm deceased hero. Of course, it is heartwarming, with perhaps, a nod to all the Christmas cliches, but the ensuing story transcends the transparent, expected holiday tales.

Even though the setting is contemporary, the backdrops of Mall, snowstorm, and Victorian house and activities like baking cookies all enhance a strong sense of nostalgia. Props are used cleverly throughout, to support the story. Viewers will note the American flag and the reindeer, both symbols that hint at what is to come. The main theme of struggling to move forward with life against a backdrop of memory and the power Christmas adds to memory is powerful. The impact of dashed wishes and grief give this tale a most serious aspect, but the solace of shared grief is there, as well.

'A Dream is a wish your heart makes,' is quoted within the script, and indeed, this poignant tale is much like being drawn in to someone else's dream. It shares a wonderful sense of Christmas, with its strong connection to the past, but still, enjoying and even reveling in the present. The holiday itself parallels the main character's story beautifully, with her cherished memory still claiming her heart, even while the present evolves into a joyous relationship, and offers promise for the future.

This play is delightfully Christmasy and yet, a very new and definitely contemporary tale that audiences cannot fail to appreciate.

Thanks to our guest reviewer: Nancy A.Lindley-Gauthier