Over the weekend the students of Sabine Parish showed just how valuable funding the arts can be with their fun-filled production of “A Good Old Fashioned Big Family Christmas.”
Audience members were treated to a touching and hilarious story of a family trying to get together for the holidays in a way that was reminiscent to when they were kids. Starting with a monologue that had the audience in stitches, Hayden Steward, played by Kadyn Dees, set the scene for hilarity with family-friendly jokes about his propensity to be somewhat of a “screw-up” in the eyes of his wife, played by Harlie Cruse. Once the jokes started rolling from Dees, they didn’t stop. The audience was a roar with laughter with the introduction of each new family member added to the mix.
As the play progressed, the viewers got to see the plans of Harlie and her sisters, played by Bethany Giddings and Isabella Berry, become more and more over the top, with “credit” going to Hayden as he unintentionally placed Holiday cheer ideas in the mind of his thoughtful wife.
As the plans grow, so does the involvement of the family, though somewhat against their will. Perhaps some of the funniest scenes came from the side scenes of the husbands of the sisters, played by Shawn Williams and Patrick (Mick) O’Neal, as they tried to plan their way out of the holiday scheme only to be bribed into putting on a show of fake holiday cheer and support by Hayden’s hilarious fishing boat swap idea.
As the “adults” of the family were scheming to make everyone get along, even if they had to fake it, the kids, played by Marilyn May, Georgia Luster, and Gabriella (Gabby) Rainey, added to the family chaos in the best way.
Once the sister, husbands, and kids were all on the same page with the plan, it was time for the audience to be introduced to the reason for a plan being needed in the first place, the lovable and theatrically argumentative patriarch and matriarch of the crazy clan. Jack and Arlene, played by Jeffrey (J.D.) Etheridge and Mallyah McCullough, entered the stage with with grey wigs, glasses, pillow-stuffed pot-bellies, and a funny argument about the correct directions to get to the house throwing a nod to the original scene in the play proving Hayden’s point that “men are good at making women mad” and that they never ask for directions.
Just when the it seemed as though the whole family was there and ready for the party, this cast of funny and talented students threw another crazy couple into the mix. With the addition of Hayden’s parents came a string of jokes and jabs from Hayden’s father Tom, played by the talented Caleb Corley. Throwing new characters into a play late in the show can be tricky, but the way this cast pulled it off was seamless and only added to the belly laughs coming from the audience as the original generation of husbands and wives argued and picked at one another.
Once everyone was forced together in the living room decorated in traditional Christmas cheer, with the added touch of a freshly cut tree that resulted in another funny monologue from leading man Kaydn Dees, the family was guided to the realization that they had created a domino affect of Christmas cheer spreading through the neighborhood. As well-meaning neighbor Mildred, played by Isabel Etheridge, explained to them just how much their traditional family Christmas plans had touched the once quiet neighborhood, Hayden’s wise mother Marjorie, played by Madeline Berry, delivered the final moral of the story…Christmas is about doing for others and making those you love happy.
This heartwarming and hilarious play was a must-see. From laughable start to touching finish, “A Good Old Fashioned Big Family Christmas” was one for the books! The extremely talented students of the Sabine Drama Club earned a well-deserved 5 star review from the Sabine Parish Journal!
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