Holiday lights were raised over Blacktip Haven’s amphitheater Thursday in preparation for the Blacktip Island Community Players’ annual Christmas performance. (photo courtesy of Doris Blenny/BICP)
The Blacktip Island Community Players will kick off the holiday season Friday night with their performance of the classic Norwegian Christmas story, “The Cat on the Dovrefjell” at the Blacktip Haven outdoor amphitheater.
“Blacktip theater-goers are a savvy lot, and tired of the usual holiday fare,” director Doris Blenny said. “This is also a hat tip to the Norse raiders who sacked the island back in 650 A.D. or so.”
The story centers on a hunter, bringing a white bear to the king, who stops at a woodcutter’s house by the Dovrefjell mountain on Christmas Eve, Blenny said.
“The woodcutter, Halvor, was abandoning the house for the night because every Christmas Eve trolls came down, ate all his food and trashed his house,” Blenny said. “The hunter decided to stay anyway. That night the trolls came down and partied hard.
“They thought the bear was a giant cat and teased it,” Blenny said. “Things went south when one of them burned the bear’s nose with a hot sausage, and the angry bear chased the trolls back up the mountain. The next year at Christmastime, when a troll asked Halvor if he still had his white cat, Halvor said his cat now had seven kittens. The trolls never bothered him again. It’s a lovely holiday message, really.”
The cast includes:
- Dermott Bottoms as the Bear
- Jerrod Ephesians as the Hunter
- Marina DeLow as Halvor the Woodcutter
- Alison Diesel, Hugh Calloway, Jessie Catahoula and Finn Kiick as Assorted Trolls
- The Blacktip Island bluff as the Dovrefjell
The rehearsals have already resulted in one injury, cast members said.
“Casting Dermott as the bear and wrapping him in that white flokati rug was brilliant, but telling him to attack people? That’s mental!” former troll Lee Helm said. “The first time I said, ‘Kitty, would you like some sausage,’ he knocked me unconscious and flung me out the window.
“They’ve barred him from rehearsals, but the damage was done. To me, anyway,” Helm said. “For Christmas this year I got 124 stitches, a concussion and a broken arm.”
Other cast members say Bottoms’ unpredictability will add realism to the performances.
“No one has a clue what Dermott’ll do when he gets his cue, not even Dermott,” replacement troll Alison Diesel said. “All we know is when I say ‘sausage,’ we’re all gonna be running like hell away from him.
“I’ve been practicing my tuck-and-roll,” Diesel said. “Dermott’s totally in character now. He won’t take off that rug, and he growls at anyone who talks to him. We told people in the first three rows to wear motorcycle helmets and any body armor they might have.”
BICP officials say the play will run through the holiday season.
“Performances will be every Friday and Saturday through New Year’s, cast injuries permitting,” Blenny said. “And it’s wonderful we can actually use the, ‘Exit, pursued by a bear’ stage direction.’”