Reduxion Theatre presents “a really fun Christmas party”
by Rob Howard
“Jane Austen is holding a party, and invited all the characters she’s written to attend it,” says Tonia Sina, Artistic Director and Interim Executive Director of Oklahoma City’s Reduxion Theatre. She’s talking about Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker! – an original play by the theatre’s Erin Woods, who Sina describes as “a Jane Austen Fanatic.”
The play is “half theatre and half a live action role playing experience,” because audience members are invited to interact with the actors. For those willing, “The [Jane Austen] characters come over and pick you and teach you how to do a Regency dance,” says Sina, who is directing the play.
Amongst the dances and singing of Christmas carols, there are Jane Austen scenes pulled directly from Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion, all Austen blockbuster novels. As a result, Sina says, the fun is “interspersed with dramatic romantic scenes.”
Jane Austen was one of the first feminist writers. Austen’s novels are set in a time when all the men were off to war, so there weren’t many men left, Sina relates. “There were too many women looking for husbands,” resulting in a lot of interesting interactions among the women. “That’s the historical reason Jane Austen wrote these books.”
To tie into the feminist theme, Reduxion is asking for nominations of Oklahoma women who have made their mark in the community. Those selected will be given complimentary tickets to a performance, and introduced during the play.
Rather than being held in a theater, the play will be in the Oklahoma City Civic Center’s Joel Levine Rehearsal Hall, on the third floor of the Civic Center. “It’s like a big ballroom space, not a theatre,” says Sina. The venue is appropriate because the play, along with the audience participation, is like a Regency era Christmas Ball, with ice cream, cookies, eggnog and cider served during the play.
Reduxion encourages audience members to dress in Regency attire. Sina elaborated: “The style is very easy to create. For women, Empire waist dresses, for men, formal dress – if they have tails, even better. It was an ornate kind of time, very poised, very conservative. Etiquette was very important.” She said dressing up increases the fun, but isn’t required.
“It’s a very festive, holiday themed event – secularly Christmassy. We are marketing it as an interactive ball. It’s going to be really fun. I’m excited to direct it,” said Sina. “It’s a really great cast, it’s going to be a phenomenal group of local actors. And we have live musicians too.”
Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker! plays December 2-17, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $35, student rush tickets at $15 and are available at www.OKCCivicCenter.com, by phone at (405) 297-2264, or in person at the Civic Center Music Hall box office, 201 N. Walker Ave., in downtown OKC.
Copyright 2016 The Gayly – December 2, 2016 @ 4:05 p.m.