Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
December 24, 2001
Radway retells Christmas Story
Producers stress 'real meaning of Christmas'
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
RADWAY — Paul Schneider did not plan to see the play A Christmas Story in Radway, Dec. 14.
He just wanted to spend some time with his son Dennis, driving on the road.
They ended up in Radway because his son wanted something to drink and they planned to pick up something there and then drive back to Edmonton. They found no store open.
What they got was an invitation from a woman on her way to see the Christmas production at Radway's Agricentre.
"It was a very enlightening show, . . . very interesting way of retelling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ," Schneider told the WCR.
Creativity proved to be an important element in this retelling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.
That and a whole lot of work on biblical and sociological research made Radway-based ministries' presentation of A Christmas Story an interesting and informative production. About 150 people attended the first night of the play.
The central character, of course, is Jesus. But in this production, Jesus was the narrator disguised as a beggar.
As the story unfolds, a family preparing for Christmas dinner was seen on the stage. They were waiting for Karen, one of the daughters of this middle-class family. She came home with a homeless stranger she had invited to have Christmas dinner with them.
The whole family was clueless about the meaning of Christmas until the stranger, who turned out to be Jesus, came and told them about it.
Narration began in a synagogue where Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, was with Jewish men studying the Sacred Scriptures.
The scriptwriters took time to include details like the political situation while the Jews were waiting for their Messiah, Jewish customs on betrothal, the annunciation and Mary's journey to see Elizabeth, Joseph's dream and an elaborate scene of Joseph and Mary's wedding.
The writers presented a well-developed characterization of Mary and Joseph based on biblical and sociological information.
Writer-directors Kerrie Gould and Janice Babych have no desire to make it big in the theatrical world. They just wanted to "get the message across that Christmas is about Christ and not about what we see in the world."
"We wanted to present something that really brings some meaning to Christmas," Babych told the WCR.
Babych says, "Santa Claus and all these other things have kind of robbed us of what really is the true meaning (of Christmas)."
Gould said that preparing for the presentation was "exciting, intense and a bunch of mixed emotions."
"It was nerve-wracking but then we had to go through it . . . and it turns out beautifully," Gould said.
For Gould, the production had two highlights. The first was when the baby Jesus was lifted by Joseph before the adoring wise men and shepherds. The second was the drama's finale, where the beggar-narrator revealed his true identity and the people lifted him up in adoration.
What Schneider particularly liked was the linking of the adoration of the child Jesus with the adult Jesus at the finale of the show.
"I think the message is so powerful and it caught my attention to redirect my way of celebrating Christmas," he said. "It is good to be reminded that Christmas is about Christ."
Lucille St. Pierre was glad that she came to see the show. "This kind of story, no matter how many times you've seen it, is something that one would never get tired of seeing over and over."
"This is the story of Our Saviour and we always have to celebrate this because he is the reason why we have Christmas."
Nathan Harrison, 20, had never played the role of Joseph before.
"During the manger scene I just stopped for a moment and I was just thinking what it must have been like for Joseph," Harrison told the WCR.
"It really touched me," said Harrison, who has come from Louisiana to study at John Paul II Bible School. "While holding the baby, I was thinking . . . he is the Son of God - how must Joseph have felt?"
Rachel McCallum, 19, of Behold the Lamb Ministries felt honoured to play the role of Mary.
What was exciting for her was "all the trials that Mary had to face. Joseph kind of turned her down and she was forced to bear this child without a father."
"But her 'yes' to God reminded me that we are all called to give the same 'yes' to Jesus," McCallum said.
This production highlighted the talents of Radway-based young people in music and dance.
The show, which ran for two nights, Dec. 14 and 15, was produced by Behold the Lamb Ministry, John Paul II Bible School and Life-Vision Communications.
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