One ‘Crooked Christmas’

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By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
Showstoppers performers Cheryl Fay, John Schall and Connie Price react with varying degrees of horror and amusement as Don Murnane recovers from being ‘blown up’ during a dress rehearsal of their latest play, “A Crooked Creek Country Christmas Eve.” The popular acting troupe from the E.L. Evans Senior Center will be presenting this original work from Schall on Dec. 5 and 6 at the facility.

It was the day before Christmas and in the Hawkins abode, animals and trees were missing but there was moonshine found in the commode. Voices were raised throughout this cabin in the woods and there was plenty tension a’ brewing due to mercurial moods.

Explosions were plenty, much arguing was had, thus tells the tale of a new play from the Showstoppers which signifies that this couldn’t all be bad.

“We’re going to get really crazy with this one,” said director Tom Cash.

For a two-day run in December, the popular acting troupe from the E.L. Evans Senior Center will be presenting their latest comedic effort, “A Crooked Creek Country Christmas Eve’ to the public. It will be, Cash claimed, one of their funniest plays to date.

“There are so many things going on with this Hillbilly family,” he said. “You’re going to see fights, you’re going to see outhouses blown up and you’re going to see a lot of dysfunction. Basically it’s a typical gathering on Christmas Eve.”

In the past, the Showstoppers have mined public works for their spring and winter performances, but as with their spring performance they decided to go original and local.

“The very talented John Schall wrote this play,” said Cash.

“It’s not based on personal experience,” Schall noted with a laugh.

He said he just sat down one day four years ago and this play about warring family and neighbors came to fruition.

“It’s like the saying we have in West Virginia: The way to make roads is to turn a possum loose and follow it,” he said. “Things just went loose and I followed it.”

When Cash started reading the script from Schall, he said he liked it but he didn’t start to really love it until the cast took the stage and began to develop their characters.

“They make this entire play,” he said. “They truly are amazing comedic actors.”

Schall said he too has been very impressed by the acting.

“Watching them make this play come to life has been a joy,” he said. “These people really make it a play and I cannot say enough about them.”

He took no credit, however, for his own acting chops.

“Oh, I’m barely in it,” he said “I just play someone who shoots a hole in the roof and falls off (when he tries to fix it).”

But for how zany “A Crooked Creek Country Christmas Eve” may overall be, actor Don Murnane says there is a message to be found behind the Hawkins and Highlander family madness.

“There’s love and redemption and acceptance found within,” he said. “That to me is the true spirit of the holidays.”

The Showstoppers Acting Group will present “A Crooked Creek Country Christmas Eve” on Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. Each showing will take place in the auditorium at the E.L. Evans Senior Center, located at 4430 Dudley Ave. in Grove City. Admission is free but donations to the Grove City Food Pantry are accepted.

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