Nicole Hansen, Intern
Finding it difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year? Looking for inspiration to get that festive feeling back? Well look no further than APT’s Holidames: Tangled in Tinsel. APT’s Sarah Day, Tracy Michelle Arnold, and Colleen Madden come together to create this Christmas-inspired collection of play performances, sketches, poems, and songs. Many of these are classics that many are likely already familiar with, while some of these are brand new.
With festive backgrounds, transitions, and topics, this performance is a one-stop-shop for relatable and relevant Christmas content. Opening with a classic Christmas song, these three reminisce about their favorite A Christmas Carol memories as actors. The first piece is a performance of an A Christmas Carol scene which utilizes costumes, hair, and makeup impeccably. Next is a quaint poem about nature, followed by a parody of “We Three Kings”, titled, “We Three Dames” which proved to be a fun and relatable song. The next piece reflects on a little girl who wrote to a New York newspaper to ask if Santa Claus exists, from which she gets a heartwarming response. Following this is the classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” which is accompanied by illustrations as though you were reading it from a story book. A holiday-themed craft tutorial comes next in this sequence. The longest sketch is a bit eclectic. The concept for this one is that Mrs. Cratchit, Bob Cratchit’s wife, is now a vlogger in an effort to improve upon herself during the pandemic. She interviews Mrs. Fezziwig to talk about hosting, the topic of this particular episode. During this, a fight occurs which appears to summon the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The ghost then gives a speech to end the dispute and everyone learns a valuable lesson. They then transition into a poem about the New Year, sing a song, and then say goodbye.
APT describes the play saying, “APT royalty Sarah Day, Tracy Michelle Arnold, and Colleen Madden unite for a world-premiere show. There is singing and celebration; holiday hilarity and poignant prose spun from Christmases past. A patchwork quilt of seasonal cheer, each square a joyous revelry. We can’t think of a better trio to warm your soul and lighten your lockdown.”
While this play was fun and filled with holiday cheer, I did find some things that I did not care for. It can sometimes be difficult to tell when they are in character and when they are talking about their own thoughts or memories. It can also sometimes feel a lot like you are just listening into a zoom conversation, which I did not really appreciate given that it is supposed to be a performance. There were also some confusing aspects, specifically during the sketch with Mrs. Cratchit, Mrs. Fezziwig, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. During this sketch, Mrs. Cratchit is making a vlog show and Mrs. Fezziwig is wearing a Packer jersey. Meanwhile, they are speaking in British accents and talking about Mr. Scrooge. This is kind of confusing, as the references they are making have nothing to do with the setting that they seem to be adding to this portrayal. They also go from a breakdown due to the stress of the pandemic, to insulting each other, to criticizing Dicken’s one-dimensional female characters, to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come telling them that everything will be alright. There is a lot of jumping around in this conversation and it can be difficult to tell what you got out of this conversion as a viewer. I feel as though they came across a lot of important conversation topics, but they did not address them well or as much as they should have if they were going to bring them up. I could not tell if they were going to discuss mental health, sexism, or regrets.
Overall, I would say that this play contains a lot of great acting, holiday spirit, and even some useful tips. With relatable and relevant content, this play is a feel-good performance that could be a lot of fun to watch with your quarantine buddies. While it is not your average play, it is still a good, light-hearted performance that will hopefully be able to lift your spirits during this unusual holiday season.