Dec 18, 2012

Director Spotlight: A Christmas Story

Scene from the FAC Theatre Company's production of  A Christmas Story. Photo by Jeff Kearney

A Christmas Story is the stage production of the beloved 1983 classic that revolves around a little boy and his quest for a Red Ryder BB Gun, complete with the warnings of adults around him that he’ll “shoot his eye out!”

We sat down with director Joye Cook-Levy, the ringleader behind the Silver Theatre Season’s A Christmas Story production, to ask about the unique process of bringing a timeless movie classic to life on stage.

Is it different directing something based off a classic rather than an ordinary stage play? 

We’re just looking for the funny. It doesn’t feel any different that it’s classic or not. It’s just moment-by-moment kind of work, although there are some very iconic images that we’re paying homage to. We want to make sure that people who come to see the show get to experience those moments.

What would you say makes the stage version different than the movie?

I think the stage version is a lot better than the movie. I hadn’t watched it [A Christmas Story] for a really long time and we were into rehearsals before I went back and watched it. I actually fell asleep watching the movie! It was really slow and you don’t think about it being so slow anymore because rarely do you just sit down and watch that movie. It’s more of a wrap a few gifts and watch the scene where Flick’s tongue is on the pole and then go and cook something and come back and it’s on another section. It didn’t hold my attention the way I remembered.

Whereas the play is a version of the movie, so the episodic nature of it makes it challenging but it keeps it moving and the energy is a lot more comedic in nature than just memoir natured. In the movie it’s much more a really nice memory piece and that’s what the play is too, but the comedic timing is much more important.

So what do you hope that people take away from A Christmas Story?

Have a good time! Everybody should laugh and remember. They might remember their childhoods. They might remember stories that their parents told them. They might remember seeing this movie and reflect on it while they’re watching the play. I just hope that everyone laughs and gets in touch with their own Christmas memories.

How do you deal with the theme of consumerism that’s prevalent throughout the movie/production?

Well the narrator has a lot of commentary about consumerism and he has some big feelings about wishing that his memories weren’t so filled with consumerism. I think it’s a way for us all to laugh at that truth. It’s a truth that we all share except for those rare families that are able to hold on to that nugget of sharing without there being product placement. It gives us permission to laugh at our own “need” for things that comes out at this time of year.

What makes A Christmas Story such a holiday classic?

I think it’s really funny. There’s so much nostalgia, and I think that’s what everybody does during Christmas time. They look back and it’s a reference of a time. It’s that point of reference that makes it a classic. It’s timeless.

And finally, what is your own Red Ryder BB gun?

Director Joey Cook-Levy
I always wanted the Barbie Dream House with three floors and the elevator. I think I asked for it for five years, but never got it. And now my daughter asks for it as well.

This is Cook-Levy’s second production at the Fine Arts Center (she made her FAC directorial debut with the Colorado Premiere of In the Next Room, or the vibrator play) and describes her experiences as great ones, including one of the only drama-free casts that she’s worked with.

A Christmas Story closes this week— be sure not to miss this live stage production of a holiday favorite! It’ll certainly be a lively, memorable and vibrant experience.

1 comment:

Ellie said...

We loved "A Christmas Story". We've enjoyed the entire season and look forward to more productions. The levys are a real asset to our Fine Arts Center Theater.

Ellie and Ron Solomon