Tickets moving fast for ‘A Christmas Story’

by Ann Fletcher

DAVIDSON – It’s the classic holiday film that has inspired so many Christmas memories, and now it’s coming to a Davidson stage.

“A Christmas Story,” taken from Jean Shepherd’s book “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash,” begins a two-week run this week at the Armour Street Theatre in Davidson.

Like the film, the stage version finds Ralphie Parker in pursuit of a “Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot model air rifle,” while subplots ignite around him. Some of those side plots are as famous as any, including his family’s exploding furnace, threats from yellow-eyed bully Scut Farcus, “double-” and “triple-dog dares” that seal friend Flick’s tongue to a frozen flagpole.

Rich with nostalgia, the production holds special appeal for guest director Greta Marie Zandstra, of Charlotte, who grew up in Highland, Ind., near Shepherd’s hometown of Hammond, a Chicago suburb.

“I was excited to direct this because not only is this a Christmas classic for many,” Zandstra said, “but those of us from the area really feel it’s the story of us.”
Directing the show is like returning to the home where her parents still live. “I go back to the Christmases of my childhood, literally.”

She returns to the sting of Midwestern winters – the snow, the cold, the howling wind – conveyed through staging and dialogue. “It’s not something we live with down here, but it’s such a presence during the holidays in the Midwest,” she said.

Ralphie, portrayed by Tanner Colson in the Davidson play, is just as disappointed in his decoder pin “secret message” as young Hensley was when “x-ray glasses” he ordered from the back of his comic book didn’t work.

And just like Ralphie thinks a Red Ryder BB gun will complete his Christmas, the holidays are a time when nearly everyone can pinpoint one specific thing that epitomizes the holidays, Zandstra said.

In her case, it’s the chance to spend time with her parents, sister and husband.

“If it weren’t for them, it wouldn’t feel like a real holiday to me,” she said.

Want to go?
Davidson Community Players presents “A Christmas Story,” Dec. 2-4, 9-11, 15-18 at 8 p.m.; Dec. 4 at 4 p.m.; Dec. 5, 11, 12, 19 at 2 p.m.. Armour Street Theatre, 307 Armour St, Davidson. Tickets: $15-$18; shows selling quickly. For tickets, visit www.davidsoncommunityplayers.org or call 704-892-7953. The play is recommended for ages 8 and up.

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