NOV 15-DEC 29
A CHRISTMAS CLASSIC
This is the Christmas story that we all want to believe in! Kris Kringle, a retired old man, is hired as Macy’s Santa in New York, and begins to spread Christmas cheer by directing parents to other stores, where they can find the exact special gift on their child’s Christmas list. As he threatens their commercialization of Christmas, those in charge try to have Kris committed. The stakes are raised with a court competency hearing, and the risk of one little girl’s belief in Santa. When the court confirms Kris the true Santa, both children and adults alike experience the delight of childhood fantasy.
Why does this story matter now? That’s one of the questions I always ask when I set out to direct any play. With Miracle on 34th Street I know there are a few answers. It is a beloved film, and many of you in the audience grew up watching it. We love such iconic, nostalgic movies. Seeing them performed live on stage is irresistible. I’m also sure that many of you are attending with your family – perhaps continuing a tradition of seeing a Chemainus show together during this season.
But apart from tradition and nostalgia, what is it that makes Miracle on 34th Street such an enduring story? I believe its power is summed up in Fred’s encouragement to Doris: “faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to”. At its core, the play encourages us all to let our hearts take the lead, rather than our heads. We are asked to risk a bit more, to allow the child in all of us to believe in something irrational and to dream bigger than we thought possible. Stories like this are precious in a world that feels increasingly cynical and perilous.
So we tell the story again with the hope that something is sparked in you during the performance. We have tried to honour the original, while adding fresh theatricality and feeling. I thought a lot about you, the audience, in rehearsal and in all the preparation that preceded it. This story is a carefully wrapped gift from our team to you.