Saturday, December 16, 2017

Sleigh at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center in Sanford.

I went to the final dress rehearsal for Sleigh presented by Gromalot Theater Factory at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center (201 S. Magnolia, Sanford, FL 32771.) In this show, a pair of shopkeepers re-define “rivalry” as they coax customers away from their competitor. And three determined mail carriers fight the elements, a poorly addressed letter, and even each other to make a delivery. The entire show is silent except for sound effects, relying on exaggerated expressions and Vaudeville styled gestures to communicate the story.

I had seen Brandon Roberts play the part of a Christmas tree years ago.  I was a bit sad not to see him reprising his roll.  A silly section of the play involves an actor wearing the foam tree to express holiday cheer.  However the tree outfits are so silly that they just evoke laughter rather than the intended joy.  I recognized the director but couldn't quite place her at first.  It was only after the rehearsal was over that it occurred to me that it was Toni Chandler, who is Brandon Roberts' wife.

The stage set resembled a large Christmas card.  When closed, it showed a quiet little town to set the locale.  When it was opened it showed two shops next to each other, with the address numbers 1223 and 1227.  These were a bell shop and a whistle shop.  The female actress would be walking by the shops and the bell shop owner would ring her bell.  The shopper would stop in her tracks and with a huge exaggerated child like joy she would instantly want the bell.  She would pull money from her pocket and with a cha ching sound effect she would raise it above her head.  Before she could spend the money however the other shop owner would blow his whistle.  She wanted both and the shop owners played tug of war with her desire and with her money. 

Sleigh is a quick series of silent comic scenes with plenty of physical comedy.  Actors have many quick costume changes.  In one scene an actor rushed off stage and had to return dressed as a Salvation Army bell ringer.  The scene played out as it should, but it took a long while before he realized that he had forgotten to put on his pants in the rush of the costume change.  The result was that the actors where laughing so hard they had a hard time finishing the scene.  I hope that they leave that wardrobe malfunction in the final production.

The production is laugh out loud funny and your only chance to see it is tonight at 2:00PM and 7:30PM. 

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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