BY DOLORES SCHULTE
Old Fort Players
FORT MADISON – Rehearsals these past few weeks have been good training for the holidays. A tree, some presents, lots of children, an absurd amount of laughing and a little bit of chaos thrown in for good measure. “On top of that, you never know what’s under the wrapping,” Director Kelly Shields said with a smile. “Sometimes we stick to the script, sometimes we don’t!”
Old Fort Players, with the help of sponsor Connection Bank, will present “The 12 Days of Christmas” the first two weekends in December. Written by Renee Calarco, the play follows Shirley, the partridge, who must gather everyone to sing the classic Christmas song in time for the holiday.
Directors Kelly Shields (“Steel Magnolias” & “The Dividing Tree”) and Assistant Director Richar Abel (Young Fort Players, “Making God Laugh”) would like to introduce you to the cast.
Almost everyone – newcomers and veterans alike – fills several roles and some have even turned getting in on the act into a family affair. Starting alphabetically with Xandra Abel (“If the Good Lord’s Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise”), Alex Desotel, Jim French (“Harvey”), Aaron & Caris Greenhalge along with their father Chris Greenhalge, Tate Kafar, Allena & brother Jaxson Kellum, Olivia Shields (Young Fort Players), Juniper & sister Rosie Strickland (“Rules of Comedy”), Mallory & Iley Troutman, Jadi (“What to Expect When you’re Expecting Your In- Laws”) & daughter Sunshine Zioui “The Rules of Comedy”.
Christmas is just around the corner, and Shirley the Partridge, (Olivia Shields) is a bit nervous because it’s her very first time carrying out the ancient family tradition—gathering the French Hens (Jadi Zioui, Juniper Strickland & Chris Greenhalge) and the Calling Birds and … oh … everyone—for the official singing of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
With strict instructions to guard the Five Golden Rings, Shirley sets off on a quest to find her singers, but there are some bumps in the road. The sweet and sappy Turtledoves (Alex Desotel) get injured. The manic and overworked Calling Birds (Jim French, Sunshine Zioui, Tate Kafar & Caris Greenhalge) decide to postpone Christmas until spring when shipping and fuel costs are lower. The Six Geese a-Laying have flown south to Florida for the winter, taking most of the Seven Swans a-Swimming with them.
And just when things can’t possibly get any worse, the evil Christmas Hoarder (Xandra Abel) steals the Five Golden Rings, adding them to her growing holiday collection of Christmas ornaments, Hanukkah menorahs, Kwanzaa fruits, Diwali candles … and entire Thanksgiving dinners.
But don’t give up hope yet, because Alyssa—a super-cool steampunk swan—befriends the grumpy Shirley and joins her on her quest. Will they be able to track down any leaping lords (Aaron Greenhalge) or dancing ladies (Mallory Troutman) and save Christmas? Or will they decide to break with tradition and “mix things up a little?” Maybe make do with dancing Christmas mice (Elise Greenhalge, Allena Kellum, Jaxson Kellum & Iley Troutman)? With freshdialogue and vivid characters, “The 12 Days of Christmas” is a playful, modern interpretation of the classic Christmas song.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook in the coming days to get a peek behind the scenes and learn more details about our actors and their most memorable rehearsal moments.
“The 12 Days of Christmas” will be presented by Old Fort Players & Connection Bank by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, IL. Performance run December 6-8 & 13-15. Evening shows begin at 7:30 and the curtain rises on Sundays at
2:00 pm. (Adult $15; Senior, Military, Vet $12; Student $10.) Tickets are available online at www.oldfortplayers.com just by clicking the ‘Book Now’ button.
Next season Old Fort Players will celebrate their 40th anniversary. They are located in downtown Fort Madison at 725 Avenue G. Send a Facebook message, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 319-372-9559 for more information. Like them on Facebook (Fb@oldfortplayers) or visit the website to keep up with everything that’s going on at the theater.