Santa, played by Aleigha Morton, delivers Christmas cheer during the Arkansas Art Center’s production of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”, presented at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. (Special to The Commercial/William Harvey)
Fa and La, played by Cassandra Nary and Aleigha Morton, guide Clem, middle, played by Jeremy Matthey, through his own creative process in the Arkansas Art Center’s production of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” presented at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. (Special to The Commercial/William Harvey)
Clemment Moore, played by Jeremy Matthey, tries to get some rest as a Christmas elf, played by Aleigha Morton, tries to wake him so that he may finish his poem. (Special to The Commercial/William Harvey)
One of the Christmas elves, played by Cassandra Nary, is dressed up as Santa as Clemment Moore, played by Jeremy Matthey, tries to draw inspiration to finish his poem. (Special to The Commercial/William Harvey)
Hundreds of Southeast Arkansas children were in attendance Wednesday at the Pine Bluff Convention Center to experience the Arkansas Art Center’s production of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Sponsored by Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative-HIPPY, ARESC-Parents as Teachers, Jefferson Comprehensive Care Services Inc. Childcare Links/PAT and DECC, the production brought to life the spirit of Christmas “magic”.
This original adaptation of the classic holiday poem is directed by John Isner, veteran actor and director for the Arts Center’s Children’s Theatre. In describing his approach to staging this production, Isner said, “The story takes place during the late Georgian time period. While we wanted to give flavors, décor and costuming of the time, we also worked hard at communicating the relevance of the story to present-day students. While we stay true to the poem and the posture of the time, we have had fun mixing in some modern-isms that I think students will appreciate.”
Penned by Clemment Moore, the poem was originally titled “A Visit From Saint Nicholas”, but over time, it became known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. The story tells of Clem’s writer’s block and his wavering confidence as an author. However, through trusting his youthful joy and spirit for Christmas, he makes a wish upon a Christmas star. Shortly thereafter, Clem is visited by two spritely elves named Fa and La who, through fun, song, and antics guide him through his own creative process. Clem learns to trust himself and to always remember that Christmas holds magic, no matter your age.
The play leaves the audience with life lessons that everyone has a talent within themselves; friends can help bring out confidence in one another; although “new” and “different” experiences can be scary, they can also be fun and enlightening; and if you work at something hard enough, you will find success.
The cast included Aleigha Morton of Beebe, Cassandra Nary of New Jersey, and Jeremy Matthey of Little Rock.
Children’s Theatre on Tour travels statewide performing three plays each year. Intended to be both educational and entertaining, the plays are often the first live theatre experience for many school children. ‘”Twas the Night Before Christmas” is available for booking through Dec. 21.
All Arkansas Arts Center touring programs are supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Children’s Theatre on Tour sponsor is Target. Season sponsors for the Arkansas Arts Center’s touring programs include: Bank of America; Horace C. Cabe Foundation; The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston; Centennial Bank; Union Pacific Foundation; and Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.
Information about the Arkansas Arts Center’s touring programs may be obtained by calling Ned Metcalf, state services manager, at 501-396-0350, 1-800-264 ARTS, or e-mail email@example.com.