article from the Daily Herald
November 28, 2011
"‘Twist-a-Carol II’ offers fresh take on the holidays"
By Jennifer Wolan
Tired of watching Scrooge undergo a change of heart
or Ralphie getting his face pushed into the snow by a bully?
Looking for something spontaneous and unexpected for the holidays?
The new production, “Twist-a-Carol II: Moby-Nick” is full of enough surprises
that directors say audiences “(might) not believe it was a Christmas story.”
Vex Theatre Company presents its all-new holiday show at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and
Saturday, Dec. 2-3, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4 at the Elgin Art Showcase.
“Twist-a-Carol II” features six new plays that are reversed Christmas plays,
interspersed with live music.
“Moby-Nick” is the centerpiece of this year’s show and is an original Vex
performance piece based on the classic novel “Moby-Dick.” Instead of searching
for the elusive whale, this Ahab is searching for the equally elusive St. Nick.
In a news release, artistic director Rich Geiger said, “Our show’s theme this
year is obsession. Moby-Nick allows us to explore this theme to the fullest.
“The quest for the perfect holiday can be as perilous as Ahab’s quest for the
great white whale,” Geiger said. “Our whale happens to wear a red suit and drive
“We wanted to come up with a Christmas story the audience will least expect,”
said Cathleen Ann, co-founder and director. “I hope the audience will recognize
themselves and their family throughout the play.”
Bringing Herman Melville’s classic tale to life onstage — with a holiday twist —
is not without its challenges.
“It’s difficult to have the props look like Moby-Nick is out at sea with his
boat,” said Ann. “But I hope the audience enjoys the creative and unusual
Christmas story set up.”
Other plays include “The perfect Christmas,” “The Great Christmas Conspiracy,”
“Carol of the Drum,” “The List” and “Anna Claus.”
All plays were written by Vex ensemble members, including Debbi Dennison, Marc
Jolley, Cathleen Ann, and Rich Geiger.
Although this production is aimed toward adults, Ann said “Twist-a-Carol II”
will be a “fun, positive evening.”
Last year, the first “Twist-a-Carol” was a collaboration of new plays and
original Christmas stories. Since the response was good, Vex Theatre Company
plans on making this a yearly show.
Vex Theatre Company hopes the date of the production is convenient for
audiences, being after Thanksgiving but before the full-on holiday rush.
“The purpose of Vex is to keep the entertainment local,” said Ann. “So we need
to target a big enough audience to keep this production a yearly event.”
For the second year in a row, the company will donate 10 percent of its ticket
sales to the Elgin Community Crisis Center. Funds raised from concession sales
will also be donated to the Crisis Center.
Featured performers include: Susan Able Barry of Carol Stream; Cathleen Ann,
Patrick Pantelis and Lori Rohr, all of Palatine; Debbi Dennison of Schaumburg;
Chuck Erickson of Addison; Marc Jolley of South Elgin; Risé Dawn Jones of Elgin;
Geoffrey Maher of Arlington Heights; Cheryl Rice of Elmhurst; and Bruce Worthel
of North Aurora.
For details or to order tickets, visit vextheatre.org. Elgin Art Showcase is at
164 Division St., Elgin. Admission is $10.