‘A Christmas Story’ performed by lively cast at Parkland College 

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Photo courtesy of Bryan Heaton

Parkland College Theatre will perform “A Christmas Story” on Dec. 9 and 10.

By Caroline Sweeney, Staff Writer

During the holiday season it’s important to get your fix of holiday classics, whether that’s through tree decorating, traditions, cookie making or plays. This week, Parkland College Theatre has done a great job of bringing the famous holiday classic, “A Christmas Story”, to life.

The story is centered around a little boy named Ralph Parker who wants nothing other than a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. He spends the duration of the show trying to convince his family, as well as his friends, teacher and even Santa about why he should get one for Christmas.

It’s got everything you could hope for in a holiday classic, from visiting Santa to opening gifts on Christmas morning.

Attendees to the play trickled in about 30 minutes before the show began, some carrying programs and others even had bouquets of flowers. People of all ages showed up to enjoy Parkland’s production of “A Christmas Story”.

The director of this production, Chelsea Collier, has directed three shows at Parkland and has appeared onstage for a few productions as well. 

Before the show began Christmas music played softly as people talked amongst themselves. Meanwhile,  everyone was growing more and more curious anticipating  how this movie had been turned into a play.

Linda and James Ayers said that they found out about this event through a flyer in the mail and decided to attend after finding out about the play.

 “We’re curious to see how ‘A Christmas Story’ is played out on a stage,” Ayers said.“Because we haven’t seen the movie in a long time.”

Cristy Gillespe, mother of Heather Gillespe, the actress who plays Ralph’s little brother Randy Parker, said she found out about the show from an article on “Smile Politely,” Champaign-Urbana’s Online Magazine.

“It’s my daughter’s stage debut, I’ve been three times already and we’ve had family fly in from all over to see her in the show,” Gillespie said. “Each show is slightly different, as the actors grow into their characters, and it’s exciting to see the audience’s reactions throughout the show,” Gillespie said. 

She added that it’s the differences that the show presents that makes it a treat for the audience.

“No show is exactly the same and I think that’s what makes it great,” Gillespie said.

The audience was laughing along the whole show and Mindi Whitter, an audience member, said she attended the show after receiving an email about it. She added that she was thoroughly enjoying it. 

“I especially liked the narrator, he was really awesome,” Whitter said

For those of who haven’t seen the movie before, the narrator of the story is none other than Ralph as an adult portrayed by Douglas Malcolm, looking back on this one particular Christmas, who tells the story of that fateful Christmas in such an exciting, child-like way.

The best part of “A Christmas Story” is how it makes the audience feel while watching the events unfold on the stage. With roars of laughter at every joke, “oohs” and “ahhs” as Ralph opened his presents hoping to get the Red Ryder air rifle and even cheering throughout the show, the atmosphere was fun and easy to get into.

A lot of viewers, such as Witther, mentioned how the play brought back memories.

“It reminds me of when I first saw the movie back when I was a kid,” Whitter said.

At the end of the performance the actors came out for their final bows as the audience clapped and roared with cheers. After a job well done the actors left the stage, and just like that “A Christmas Story” had come to a close.

The show will be back for an encore on Dec. 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. If you, your family or friends are looking for something to do, consider seeing Parkland College’s production of “A Christmas Story,” this season.

 

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