The classic “A Christmas Story” movie is now a stage play and will be presented by the Aiken Community Theatre from Dec. 5 to 14 at the AECOM Center for the Performing Arts.
Janette Godwin is directing the traditional family comedy on ACT’s main stage.
“I love the 'A Christmas Story' movie,” Godwin said, in a news release from ACT. “The script follows the movie but with added dream sequences. I liked that the play takes place in 1940 when life was simpler. The characters are real, and in the script, adult Ralphie is on stage rather than just narrating.”
Based on the Jean Shepherd memoir about growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s, the stage play has all of the major elements of the movie, including the stubborn furnace, the school bully and the experiment with a wet tongue on a freezing lamppost, according to the release.
“A Christmas Story” is Godwin’s first main stage directing effort, and she has worked hard to meet the challenges of the busy production, according to the release.
“I have learned many lessons as a first-time director,” she said. “There are so many facets to play production, and I knew I couldn’t do it by myself. I surrounded myself with a great production staff. I learned to trust them and their ideas. I had to be very organized. I was constantly making lists, saving emails and texts and making phone calls. I also had to keep track of money being spent on materials.”
Godwin said that the play contains some tricky action sequences that required careful planning.
“The play has action in several places at one time in a scene,” she said. “There are scenes in the script when Ralphie is in his upstairs bedroom and his parents are in the kitchen at the same time. During these scenes, adult Ralph is in the scene narrating. The blocking and lighting all had to be considered. It is one thing to block it on paper and another to see the actors on stage.”
Godwin said she wanted to follow the movie and “keep true to the script but also wanted to put my own spin on it.”
“People love familiarity when it comes to Christmas comedies, such as 'A Christmas Story,'” she said. "I want our audiences to have fun while watching 'A Christmas Story.' The ACT lobby is decorated for Christmas. We will have Santa Claus and his elves in the lobby before and after every show. Our audience members are free to take their own photos with Santa and the leg lamp. We also have a stand-up cut-out of Ralphie’s bunny PJs for photos.”
The cast members are as follows: Ralph, Rodney Lippard; Ralphie Parker, Alex Mastromonico; Mother, Tricia Perea; The Old Man, Jeff Mastromonico; Randy, Andrew Woodworth; Miss Shields, Lakwassia Cummings; Flick, Daniel Woodworth; Schwartz, Wells Harm; Esther Jane Alberry, Allie Harm; Helen Weathers, Olivia Brumfield; Scut Farkus, Mason Poole; Tree Lot Owner, Jacob Mastromonico; Delivery Man, Mark Rose; Department Store Santa Claus, Bill Bassham; and Department Store Elves, Scott Woodworth and Claire Woodworth.