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Battlefords players ready to go live with Christmas classic

The show opens Nov. 30 at the Battlefords Community Players Theatre, and runs seven days in early December
Crystal Gilbert, Holly Briant, Glen Rubidge, Clint Barrett and Fraser Glen rehearse for the Battlefords Community Players presentation of It’s a Wonderful Life. The show opens Nov. 30.

THE BATTLEFORDS — A nostalgic and beloved holiday classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life” turned into a live version of the 1940s radio play is coming to the Battleford Community Players stage soon this holiday season.

The second show of the club’s season, following “You Can’t Get Here From There” early in October, is set to run Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 8 and 9, though four days are currently sold out.  

The show includes a cast of

  • Fraser Glen,
  • Glen Rubidge,
  • Clint Barrett,
  • Crystal Gilbert,
  • Holly Briant and
  • Marno Auchstaetter.

Together, the cast will bring a few dozen characters, a multitude of sounds and music to the stage as the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds while he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve.

“Well, I really love conceptually how [the play] was written,” Darren Olson, the play’s director told the News-Optimist in a phone interview.

“The concept of doing this as a radio play is sort of nostalgic. It harkens back to when radio plays were done before a live studio audience,” he said, noting that audience members at the show essentially form a fictional live studio audience, complete with a flashing”‘applause” sign and a live foley artist.

But Olson noted that concept also poses a challenge for the cast, though they don’t have to learn their lines per se, they have to keep their minds on characterization because the audience isn’t just there to listen, but to watch.

“And so it’s really, it’s not like the play is a tearjerker, but it’s a total feel good [play] … when the story arcs, everything is happening — the sound effects, the music, the acting — it really swells as it should.

“I think the audience that comes out will feel like they’ve seen a pretty classy presentation of this story. "

“What a great evening out for friends, co-workers or just a special date before the busy Christmas season is upon us,” Donna Challis writes in a release from the club,

“It’s a wonderful time of the year and if you are looking for that special something for those very hard to purchase for, why not consider a couple of tickets to our upcoming productions? It could be the best thing you could do for a friend or co-worker to introduce them to live theatre.”

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