article from the Sun-Times Media Group
November 23, 2011
"Vex’s ‘Twist-a-Carol’ teaches lessons"
By Annie Alleman
Sometimes, you need a gentle reminder of what’s
important at the holiday season.
Elgin’s Vex Theatre Company hopes to provide that — albeit in a comedic fashion
— with their holiday show, “Twist-a-Carol II: Moby-Nick.” The show runs at 7:30
p.m. Dec. 2 and 3, at 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Elgin Art Showcase in Elgin.
“Twist-a-Carol II” consists of several short, quirky plays about the holidays,
interspersed with live music. The centerpiece of this year’s show is
“Moby-Nick,” a light-hearted spin on the classic fish tale “Moby-Dick.” Instead
of searching for the elusive whale, this Ahab is searching for the equally
elusive St. Nick.
The skit was written by Richard Geiger, artistic director of Vex Theatre
Company, with additional help from his cast.
“‘Moby-Nick’ is about Christmas obsessions,” he said. “It takes place in a mall
with a family shopping. They have dream sequences where they compare their
shopping adventures to Moby-Dick, the great hunt. It’s a play on the obsession
of Christmas and searching for presents and the right thing to get people. It’s
kind of like a mash-up. We compare the themes of the modern family to the old
classic novel. (But) It’s a comedy.”
In addition to “Moby-Nick,” the other original short plays being performed are:
“The Perfect Christmas,” “The Great Christmas Conspiracy,” “Carol of the Drum,”
“The List” and “Anna Claus.” All were written by Vex Theatre members; including
Debbi Dennison, Marc Jolley, Cathleen Ann and Geiger.
This is the second annual installment of Vex’s holiday “Twist-a-Carol”
productions. Last year featured the original play, “Turn of the Scrooge.”
A skit called “The Perfect Christmas” is a comedy about the modern family’s
attitudes about Christmas, he said. “The List” is about Santa Claus and the
elves, and how they figure out who gets what for Christmas.
“They’re making their list and checking it twice,” Geiger said.
Then there’s an actress doing a monologue about what it means to be Mrs. Claus
called “Anna Claus.”
“We’re trying to keep it light,” he said of the skits.
He hopes people leave with a smile and a warm feeling after seeing the play.
“The reason we did this, is sometimes the holidays can get overwhelming. We’re
sort of poking fun at that,” he said. “Sometimes the expectations get so
overwhelming, we like to poke fun at that a little and step back and say, ‘Let’s
have more of a holiday for the family.’ Christmas should take place in the
house, not in the mall. The important thing is to be with family.”
Hopefully people will enjoy the evening and come away with a few thoughts about
Christmas, and how we obsess about the holidays, he said.
“There are a lot of subversive shows out there,” he said. “We’re not trying to
beat up on the holidays; we want to be positive and give people a warm feeling.
But also laugh about how the holidays handle us, instead of how we handle the
For the second year, the Elgin Crisis Center will run concessions as a
fundraiser. Ten percent of ticket sales will go to the crisis center.
“They help people all year; hopefully we can help them out now,” he said.