This weekend, December 9-11, will offer the final opportunity for local residents to take in a thought-provoking Christmas experience at Ouachita Little Theatre. A Southern Fried Christmas Carol is a locally adapted version of the classic Dickens tale by writer Ian Mairs.
Directed by Ladonna Van Wolf and choreographed by Linda Johnson, the production features Scotty Jenkins as Eb Scrooge and his nemesis vocalist named Bertha, played by Linor Thomas. Bertha blisses out her competition by giving them some highly saturated sweet tea to assume the role of lead story teller. She is supported by a rotating chorus of dozens who interact with the crowd, set props on the fly and double as characters in a classic story of selfishness, greed and redemption.
Among the veteran cast is Ann Glenn who plays Scrooge’s deceased cousin Eula Mae. Cousin Eula guides Eb back in time to see where he made his first big mistake by putting business ahead of his dream girl Belle, played by Anastasjya Bilous. Anastasjya is one of three foreign exchange students appearing in major roles within the ninety minute play. Arus Melkonyan and Blanca Caro also add their European dialects into the mix of Southern hospitality and country culture.
Scrooge is forewarned about his nasty behavior by recently deceased friend J.J. Marley played by Wayne Johnson. The greedy loan shark is also visited by a motorcycle angel played by Jackie Biard and the ghost of Christmas Future played by Joe Van Wolf.
Director Van Wolf sought to create an imaginative and fun production by utilizing the creativity of her cast while staying true to the intent of the writer’s story. She describes her rendition as “Out of the box, packed with surprises and action. The story has been reset in Mena so the audience can easily visualize Mr. Marley’s boating accident in Lake Mena, goings-on in Janssen Park, eating blueberry pancakes at the Skyline Cafe and much more.” The neighborhood becomes so familiar, she cautions the audience to avoid trying to match up local citizens with the characters depicted, “The characters are all fictitious,” she insists.
“I read the script a couple years ago and knew immediately I wanted to bring this story to Mena,” Van Wolf explains. “During our first weekend of performances, we’ve gotten many rave reviews including some who said this was the most fun they’d ever had at a theatrical production.”
The family-oriented show invites audience participation. There are moments you can laugh, sing, boo, hiss, clap, cry, and celebrate!
Although the cast includes several newcomers, it also features experienced OLT actors including Judy Weir as a Victorian Vocalist, Will Hose as Fred Davis, Cody Wayne in duel roles as Young Scrooge and a Victorian musician, Michael Cate as Bob Cratchit, Julie Moe as Becky Cratchit, Linda Johnson as Mrs. Fezzi, and Amanda Baker as April Davis. Several child actors return to support this cast as well.
This rendition of a Christmas Carol is made complete by young Brayden Stockton who plays Tiny Tim. Come and join us as we raise a cup of Bertha’s MeeMaw’s famous ice tea as Tim proclaims, “God Bless Us Everyone!”
Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30pm, December 9 and 10. The final show will be a 2:30pm matinee on Sunday, December 11.
Ouachita Little Theatre is located at 610 Mena Street in the historic Lyric Threatre Building.