We’ve all experienced it. The holiday family gathering that starts out festive and happy, but ends up tense and combative. It’s the nature of holidays and families, and it’s the subject of Alan Ayckbourn’s
“Season’s Greetings,” a comic play produced by Central Lakes College (CLC) Theatre that plays Nov. 29 through Dec. 8 in the Dryden Theatre on the Brainerd campus.
Director Patrick Spradlin has assembled a cast of comedic actors to tell British playwright Ayckbourn’s story of a three-day family gathering that goes horribly awry. It is Christmas at Belinda and Neville’s house and they have invited their family for a traditional Christmas celebration. The guests include: Neville’s exhausted sister Phyllis; her husband Bernard, a doctor whose annual puppet shows are the stuff of legend and terror to both young and old alike; Neville’s friend Eddie and his pregnant wife Pattie; uncle Harvey, a slightly senile retired security guard and a television-addict; Belinda’s unmarried sister, Rachel; Clive, a writer and friend of Rachel.
Things begin to unravel when Clive arrives late by train, is missed by Rachel and is instead welcomed by Belinda, who is immediately attracted to him. Harvey, as a result of a misunderstanding, takes an immediate dislike to Clive, believing him to be a prospective thief. Clive falls for the frustrated Belinda after Rachel tells him she is looking for no more than friendship, which results in a hilariously unsuccessful attempt by Clive and Belinda to consummate their new found relationship.
The next day, with tensions running high, rehearsals are taking place for Bernard’s puppet show “The Three Little Pigs,” all his efforts being undermined by Harvey. Bernard eventually snaps and tirades against Harvey. Very early the following morning, Clive, in the process of leaving, is intercepted by Harvey who believes he is a thief taking all the presents. A sudden violent act takes place with unforeseen consequences, matters are quickly addressed and the household is returned to an odd sense of peace.
The cast of “Season’s Greetings” includes Terry Bock and Shane Keran, who play Phyllis and Bernard; Abbey Olmsted as Rachel, AJ Petersen as Neville and Bob Spear as Uncle Harvey. All are from Brainerd. Emily native Lydia Hawley plays Patty; her husband, Eddie, is portrayed by Darren Dosh of Little Falls. Mitchell Dallman of Pequot Lakes plays the writer, Clive.; and Cassandra Meyer of Pierz plays the role of the beleagured Belinda.
Performances of “Season’s Greetings” are Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 and Dec. 6-8. All shows are at 7:30 p.m. in the Dryden Theatre.
Tickets and information are available from the CLC Theatre Box Office at 218-855-8199 or online at clctickets.com.
Director Spradlin gives the show a PG-13 rating for adult situations and an A+ rating for sheer comedic lunacy.