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‘This isn’t a Hallmark movie’

By Mark Squibb
December 1, 2023 Edition

If you’ve worn out your DVD copies of It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, or are simply looking for a new Christmas story to enjoy, The Christmas Spirit may be just the thing for you.

“This isn’t the usual Christmas story,” said Fiona Andersen of Kelligrews. “It’s not Elf or A Christmas Carol, but it’s a really good play that gives you all the Christmas feels.”

The Christmas Spirit, Frederick Stroppel’s adaptation of the 1934 film Death Takes a Holiday, is being put off by the St. John’s Players at the LSPU Hall December 7 to the 9. The play begins early Christmas morning, when Death arrives at Julia Dowling’s home to take her to the great hereafter. Dowling, not ready to shuffle off her mortal coil, persuades Death to give her more time on earth, and invites him to stay for Christmas dinner with her family.

Andersen said the play is at times funny, and at times tragic, and will give you all the Christmas feels while also reminding you to reflect on what’s important — family.

“This is not something you want to bring the whole family to,” warned Andersen. “It’s not recommended for children; we recommend it for those 16 plus. Other than that, for everyone else who wants to see the show, you can sit back in the audience and watch a bunch of folks on a stage portraying characters that you’re going to come across in real life. This isn’t a Hallmark movie where everything is wonderful and beautiful, and everyone is so happy. It’s just not that.”

Andersen is no stranger to the stage, and in fact performed in The Christmas Spirit five years back.

She’s reprising her role as Aunt Rosemary, a character about whom Andersen minces no words.

“She’s very bitter, very sarcastic, she henpecks her husband,” said Anderson. “She’s just a cantankerous old bitch.”

While many folks say they would never dare set foot on a stage, Andersen said it’s something she enjoys immensely.

“I like entertaining, and being in theatre offers me an opportunity to do it,” said Andersen, who recommends that any adult interested in theatre get in touch with the St. John’s Players.

“We don’t turn anyone away,” said Andersen. “We love diversity in all its forms, so everyone is welcome in St. John’s Players. And if you are really hesitant about your courage to go on a stage and perform, we’re always looking for crew, backstage people, anyone who wants to help with lighting or sound, and props, we’re always looking for people to help. And that’s a good way in to see if you could be brave enough to go on stage.”

Fiona Andersen of Kelligrews in character as Aunt Rosemary in a rehearsal for ‘The Christmas Spirit,’ which is playing at the LSPU Hall from December 7-9. Submitted photo

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