The Leaping Thespians, Vancouver’s only lesbian theatre company, create their own holiday tradition in an encore presentation of A Christmas Carol In Gay Apparel.
Last seen in 2012, the story has been refined and the cast increased as the group once again tells their own version of the Charles Dickens classic. In this collectively written lesbian adaptation, Ebenezer Scrooge becomes Eleanor S. Crooge, and while she too falls prey to a “humbug” attitude towards the season, she is also in denial about her sexuality.
Visited by her deceased College girlfriend Marley and the Ghosts of Lesbians Past, Present and Future, Eleanor not only finds her Christmas spirit, but more importantly she is helped to embrace her authentic self. With a nod to Vancouver’s seemingly ubiquitous yoga culture, Eleanor also learns some valuable lessons about the rampant consumerism of the season from her co-workers at the local yoga clothing company.
The fifth original comedy from the group, the decision to create and perform a holiday show came through timing rather than any divine plan.
“To be honest, none of us are huge traditional fans of Christmas,” says Karen White, who with other members of the cast helped to write and direct the show. “But we found ourselves with time around the holiday season last year and knew that if we did a show in December it needed to have a holiday theme.”
After viewing a number of Christmas movies, the group landed on the iconic Alastair Sims 1951 version of A Christmas Carol and knew they had a winner.
“A Christmas Carol is in a category of its own it which also has a strong moral tale where most Christmas stories are just happy fluff,” says White.
“We looked at other stories, but we all felt connected to A Christmas Carol because it was also kind of dark and felt it could work well,” continues cast member Jingo.
The characters were fleshed out through a number of evenings of improvisation with White and fellow company member Leigh Burrows madly writing down everything that came out of those sessions.
“It created such a great backbone for this story,” says White of the process. “There was already a structure with the story and we were able to add our own twist to it.”
Also featuring a number of original songs from Kerri Mesner, White is reluctant to call it a musical.
“Some would love to consider it a musical,” she laughs, “But I’m not going to say one way or the other. You’ll just have to come see and decide for yourself.”
On stage at The Cultch Vancity Culture Lab, December 3-7, 2013. Visit http://leapingthespians.ca for more information.