Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Perfect Gift is an emotional holiday cIassic.


Dangerous Theatre (115 W. 1st St., Sanford, Florida 32771) has just moved to Sanford. At a find dress rehearsal for The Perfect Gift, Winnie Wenglewick explained that she had been moving all day So the rehearsal promised to be a big one. Written and Directed by Winnie Wenglewick, the show features the talents of Winnie Wenglewick, Thomas C. Taffinder and Larry Stallings. This is the first show in the new Sanford Theater space. Blue tape on the floor showed how the cavernous space would be divided into two theaters each seating about 50 people. For now the place look like an abandoned warehouse which suits the theme of the production. Blue tarps stretched between metal pillars served as the dressing room. 

The play opens with a homeless man playfully sparring with an imaginary character.  He is caught in a headlock when Stacia (Winnie Wenglewick)  walks into the scene. They meet for lunch often on this park bench. She admires and accepts his quirky behavior. He is excited about the approaching Christmas Holidays but she is jaded, despising the religious hypocrisy and commercialism of the season. They both have fond memories from their childhoods but only he keeps that sense of wonder alive. He invites her to have a holiday feast with him and a buddy under a bridge. 

In the second act, the PVC supported black curtain is removed to open the space for a table covered in a tacky Christmas table cloth.  A Christmas tree made from a series of hangers is suspended from a coat rack. The sumptuous feast consists of exotic holiday fair, like Doritos, chocolate covered pretzels and spam. Both men explain why they live off the grid. One lost his wife and then was put in a retirement home by his daughter. He escaped and prefers life on the streets to the stagnant home. His wife, whom he often speaks to, watches over him. when Stacia said, "Oh, you have an imaginary friend too." He responds, "She's not imaginary." The invisible friends are guardian angels. She comes to realize that sometimes all you have to do is listen with your heart.

Stacia has to leave the banquet to give a present to her daughter. She approaches a small headstone and places a small doll up against it. In a flashback she recalls a holiday argument with her daughter who wanted an expensive doll for Christmas. Since it isn't in her budget she tries to convince her daughter that the present isn't what is most important. Unswayed , the daughter shouts "I hate you!' and runs off into traffic. what follows is an incredible monologue about loss and sorrow. 

After the show, Winnie explained that she has lost many dear friends in 2016. Kim Stalling who played a part in this production last year died. She listed other friends lost an then Pulse. She taped photos to the back of the headstone  to remind her of the pain and sorrow felt this year. There might not be room to tape 49 portraits, but they were in her heart. She looked completely emotionally spent after the performance. 1960's animated holiday classic tunes filled the empty warehouse. 

The Perfect Gift Dates: December 2nd - 18th
Fridays and Saturdays @ 8pm and Sundays @ 1pm
Tickets $20.00
$5.00 discount for students, seniors, military and anyone wearing a Fringe Button from any year.

The ticket price includes holiday refreshments and treats.

Special Performances:
Monday, December 5th @ 8pm Theatre Industry Night
Tickets only $10 for any theatre folks
Thursday, December 8th @ 8pm "Alive After 5"
Pay-what-you-can performance.
Every 2nd Thursday is Sanford's monthly Alive After 5 event from 5pm to 8pm just a block from the theatre on 1st Street.
Be alive after 5 then come see The Perfect Gift.
Donations collected at the end of the show.

Please note: Seating for this show will be very limited, less than 40 seats per show. It is strongly recommended that you purchase tickets online or make a reservation by calling the Box Office at 407-358-6677.

We only accept cash at the door. Credit/debit card purchases online only

No comments: