Sunday, December 13, 2015
The Perfect Gift is written and directed by Winnie Wenglewick who also plays Stacia in the show. Winnie cut her teeth in theater at the Orlando Fringe for the first 10 years when it was still downtown. She moved to Denver Colorado, where this play is staged, and established Dangerous Theater in 2007. Although Winnie has just moved back to Orlando, she is keeping Dangerous Theater open in Denver. The Perfect Gift was first performed four years ago in Denver. In fact they have their own production of The Perfect Gift runring as well this season. If all goes according to plan, Winnie will be opening Dangerous Theater here in Orlando around Fairbanks and Edgewater in about March of 2016.
ME Theater (1300 La Quinta Drive Orlando FL) isn't easy to find among the stretch of warehouses. Look for the tall ME Dance flag. I slipped into the theater, a bit early to get a jump on the sketch. I considered sitting in the front row, but decided against it, since the front row would most certainly fill up. Christmas songs from all the quirky 60s animated films livened up the room. I found myself humming along as I sketched. When the house opened, only two patrons sat in the front row.
The play opened with Stacia and Winter (Thomas C. Taffinder) sitting on a park bench. Winter was a homeless man with a quirky sense of humor. Staciawho had shared sandwiches with winter on more than a few occasions, recalled warm childhood memories of Christmas, but the holiday didn't hold the same magic now that she is an adult. The memories we incredibly funny and although there were as many people in the audience as on stage, we were laughing out loud throughout the show. Winter, though he had little, decided to invite Stacia to a holiday dinner with a friend under a bridge.
His friend was named Karma (Kim Stone). Also homeless, she was an avid Broncos fan, wearing a football jersey and a colorful tutu. Both Karma and Winter had imaginary friends, so the table had to be set for five. Karma had a childish charm about her as she related a story of a Christmas donkey who had very large ears. Conversation over the humble dinner turned to memories of loss and sadness. The "Guardian Angels" managed to bring some peace into the lives of Winter and Karma who had little to loose yet could still find pockets of happiness. We all could all use a guardian angel in a world that seldom plays out like A Wonderful Life.
The fellowship and friendship found under the bridge managed to shine a bright light on the true meaning of the holiday season far removed from the commercialism in the malls. Life, love, and loss are universal. This was a rare show that had humor laced with sadness. As we grow older material gifts aren't as important as having a close friend to share memories with. Being part of the small audience actually made the show more magical since our laughter was contagious and filled the room. I hope more people discover this holiday gem from a director who has just returned to make her mark in Orlando.
December 3rd - 20th
Thursday Friday and Saturday @ 8:00
Sunday @ 4:00
NO performances on 12/5 & 12/17
$5.00 discount for students, seniors, military
and anyone wearing a Fringe Button from any year.