PRINCESS THEATRE - Raising the Curtain: Michael Golebiewski Directs "A Christmas Story" At Roane State

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Michael Golebiewski Directs "A Christmas Story" At Roane State

Again Michael Golebiewski brought another great stage production to the Roane State theatre.  This time it was "A Christmas Story", written by Philip Grecian, based on the stories by Jean Shepherd.  There was a large turnout for the play Friday evening, or it could have been for Michael's famous dessert offerings at intermission!

The story is all about Ralphie Parker, played wonderfully by Caleb Wright, a 7th grader at Cherokee Middle School, who only wants one thing for Christmas.  Ralphie not only obsesses about during is waking moments, but day and night dreams about becoming a neighborhood hero using a Red Ryder BB gun.
Caleb was also a gentlemen off stage.  I touched his shoulder on the way out and told him that he had done a great job, and the young man, still dressed in his silk robe after coming off the stage, said smilingly, "Oh thank you sir!"

All the iconic elements were there (as my photographic evidence proves); the leg lamp with ensuing "Battle of the Lamp"; which eventually leads to a broken leg, the metal pole with Flick's frozen tongue (Flick played by John Conard Belitz V, a 4th grader at Kingston Elementary), a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and "this thing which tells time", said 28 times in the original movie (I didn't count the stage expressions, but it was close.), the "you'll put your eye out" comments were also there, the barking Bumpus dogs next door, and the "redneck Bumpus"  theft of the Christmas turkey, the clinker battles with accompanying expletives, the Christmas tree trip with the scattering of the lug nuts, and the famous line "...only I didn't say fudge", Randy behind the couch and under the sink and back steps, the explosive fight scene between Ralphie and Scut Farkas (played by Chayse Mitchell (a freshman at Greenback), and even the Cowboy dream sequences (played by Caleb Stephenson, a student at RSCC)!

The most important element on the stage was the youth of Roane County expressing themselves, quite admirably I must say, through their art.  (A personal note: At least Roane State has theatre, something shamefully missing in our high schools!  The Princess stage needs to be utilized by the school system and promote the arts in education.  It's part of the dream folks!)
The youth on the stage ranged from kindergartner Seth Gutridge (playing Randy),  to old timer Corey Jones (playing the Old Man).  I've watched Corey grow in theatre, and he's maturing into a fine actor.

Randy (little fellow in the above photo), who incidentally often stole the show by either adorably waving at audience members, or poking his hands or head up through the kitchen sink to the shock of his mom, to walking or crawling on and off stage at will!  His mother (on and off stage), Tiffany Gutridge (played Ralphie and Randy's mom), had her hands full keeping up with her lines and the timing of delivery, while at the same time holding, dragging, or whispering "don't do that" to Randy!  It made for an enjoyable evening...just these exchanges and antics keep the audience smiling and laughing!

To be honest I'm not sure what part of the hilarious actions of the young actor were written into the script, or were just a little boy being himself!  Either way, it added to the whole feel of the show, and was quite fitting regardless.

Also on stage was a host of other supporting actors: Garrett Davis (Adult Ralphie) delivered the voice over, as was in the movie, Luke Taylor (Schwartz) is a 2nd grader at Bowers Elementary, Alayna Golebiewski (Esther Jane - Ralphie's girlfriend), Elizabeth Fishel (Helen), Kimmie Haliburda (Miss Shields) is a theatre major at RSCC, Gianni de Schaepdryver (tree salesman) is from Belgium, Tre Pack (Santa Claus) is a 2nd year RSCC student, and Kristen Arden (Elf) is also a 2nd year student at RSCC.
Spoiler Alert!  The played turned out like it was supposed to with Ralphie getting his Christmas wish; a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and "this thing which tells time"!  And yes, he almost shoots his eye out!
Ralphie and his father have a grand Christmas; without turkey!

Other photos from Friday evening's performance:
Congratulations all on the great performances, and keep up the great work.

Go now to the RSCC's website and signup to receive an electronic version of the Roane State Presents Performing and Visual Arts mailer (click the embedded link).  You will be very happy you did.

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