Tag Archives: Christmas plays

Blacktip Island Players Stage Dueling Christmas Plays

Dueling Xmas

Blacktip Island Community Players cast members try on various costumes Thursday at the BICP’s holiday play dress rehearsals. The BICP will perform Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and a Nativity play simultaneously to address a secular-vs.-religious divide among island residents. (photo courtesy of istolethetv).

Debate over the appropriate theme for Blacktip Island’s annual Christmas play has resulted in the Blacktip Island Community Players staging two different holiday plays simultaneously at the Caribbean island’s Heritage House, BICP representatives said Thursday.

“When we started planning things, there was a vocal contingent that wanted the play to focus on Jesus’ birth,” BICP director Doris Blenny said. “Others wanted a more lighthearted performance. We tried to incorporate both viewpoints, but that was a hot mess. The solution was to stage two plays.

“We’ll have a traditional Nativity play in a scale-model, turn-of-the-millennium Judean manger on the lawn, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer inside,” Blenny said. “We’re staging them simultaneously so people can choose which to watch.”

Some community leaders opposed the two-play solution.

“Jesus is the reason for the season. If we don’t keep that in focus, who will?” said the Rev. Pierre Grunt. “Religion is the heart of this community. Or should be. The Santa-and-reindeer play is misguided, and we’re encouraging folks to boycott it. And they don’t, well, they’ll have to walk past our manger scene to get inside.”

Others supported the dueling plays.

“We kicked around a bunch of inclusive options, but this was the only practical one,” said the former Rev. Jerrod Ephesians, chair of the Blacktip Island Ecumenical Council. “The runner up was a Baby Jesus vs. Santa cage match, and we axed that pretty quick. Our bottom line is whatever gets people out and involved is, by definition, good for the community. And people really enjoyed last year’s ‘Grinch’ production.”

Actors say the two-play option has stretched the island’s thespian community thin.

“Staging two plays simultaneously showcases new talent, but it has us reaching deep into the pool of performers,” BICP member Elena Havens said. “Actors chose which play to participate in based on their beliefs, or lack thereof, though we did ask the tone-deaf actors to opt for the non-musical Nativity play.

“The downside is we had to reduce the number of parts in both performances,” Havens said. “There’ll only be one shepherd in the manger, and it’s impossible to find a Wise Man on this island, so we axed that role entirely.”

Casts of the two plays include:


  • Payne Hanover as Rudolph
  • Cori Anders as Clarice
  • Finn Kiick as Hermey the Elf
  • Elena Havens as Santa
  • Jessie Catahoula as Yukon Jack
  • James Conlee as The Abominable Snow Monster of the North


  • Kay Valve as Baby Jesus
  • Lee Helm as Mary
  • Marina DeLow as Joseph
  • Alison Diesel as The Shepherd
  • Dermott Bottoms as The Camel

Some cast members see the two-play solution as a growth opportunity.

“It really gives us a chance to stretch our abilities as actors,” Marina DeLow said. “So far the only real gaffe was during dress rehearsals the arrival of the shepherd outside was interrupted by Payne Hanover inside yelling, ‘She thinks I’m cuuuuuute!’ over and over.”

Many residents see the two plays as a holiday blessing.

“We get two plays instead of one,” Chrissy Graysby said. “We’re taking the kiddos to Rudolph Saturday, then the Nativity Sunday. Then we’ll celebrate Kwanza right after Christmas.”

The plays will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December 22.

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Painful Holiday Musical Scenes Highlight Blacktip Island Extravaganza

Excruciating musicals

The cast of this year’s Most Excruciating Holiday Musicals perform during their dress rehearsal Thursday evening at the Blacktip Island Heritage House. (photo courtesy of the University of Utah)

The Blacktip Island Community Players will perform its annual selection of cringe-worthy excerpts from a dozen Christmas musicals Saturday and Sunday evenings to raise money for local charities.

“Most people spend the holiday season watching one agonizing musical after another, often barely recuperating from one before the next starts,” said Doris Blenny, BICP’s creative director. “The point of this show is to tear off the Band-Aid, so to speak, and get the worst of it over with in less than an hour.

“After this, even if you want to watch holiday musicals, that urge will be burned out of your system,” Blenny said. “We think of it as holiday cauterization. Our aim is to get everyone through the agonizing parts of the holidays as quickly as we can.”

The event owes much of its appeal to the quality of the local singers.

“None of these people can sing a note, but that’s the point,” resident Jay Valve said. “Last year, Cori brought the house down with ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You,’ because she sang so off-key. You’ll remember, she was the one who voiced the airplane engines and the machine guns in Tora ! Tora! Tora!

This year’s performance will honor several classic holiday films.

“We’ll be paying homage to White Christmas, partly to take advantage of the talent we have this year,” Blenny said. “Antonio does a great Bing Crosby. Not the singing, mind you, but the body language. And Dermott does a surprisingly good Rosemary Clooney. We tried him in a Vera-Ellen dance routine, but he broke too much furniture.

“We’re also spicing things up with a Meet Me In St. Louis number,” Blenny added. ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ will feature Alison Diesel’s interpretation of little Margaret O’Brien’s snowman-bashing scene. Those in the first three rows are advised to wear eye protection for Christmas light shards, and motorcycle helmets in case Alison loses her grip on the baseball bat.”

Blenny’s warning was not necessary for some.

“I always wear ear protectors and earplugs at this gig,” resident Val Schrader said. “Payne Hanover and Catalina Luxfer’s screeching that date rape song from Elf about did me in back in 2007. The muffs and plugs don’t totally block the sound, but they take the edge off.”

Audience members are asked to wear ugly Christmas sweaters. Proceeds from the event to go Blacktip Island Meals on Wheels and the Retired Seaman’s Association.


Ask Dermott:

Yo, Dermott,

With everyone so tense about sexual harassment these days, the company Christmas party is going to be a minefield, what with the booze, the mistletoe and coworkers hanging out under the mistletoe – intentionally or not. Help me out here. Why’s it called ‘mistletoe?’ – Who in Whoville


‘Mistletoe’ is Old English for ‘kick to the crotch.’

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