By Noelle H. Lowery
“You’ll shoot your eye out!”
It’s a phrase that has become synonymous with Christmas for many folks between the ages of 30 and 50. It’s a phrase that has come to symbolize the depth of yearning that comes with wanting that one special, perfect Christmas gift. It’s a phrase that when said in mixed company usually generates hoots of laughter followed by a litany of other familiar phrases from the 1983 classic A Christmas Story.
“I can’t put my arms down!”
“I triple-dog dare ya!”
“That’s a major award!”
“A legendary official Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle with a compass and this thing which tells time built right into the stock.”
All of these phrases and more brought down the house recently at The Marco Players Theater when the TMP Children’s Theater presented its own production of A Christmas Story as its first show of the season. The show was directed by Gina Sisbarro, and featured Marco Island Charter Middle School students Cooper Ussery and Ryan Sullivan as the older and younger vestiges of the story’s main character, Ralph/Ralphie Parker. This production also incorporated choir performances prior to the beginning of the show and during the intermission.
For those unfamiliar with the plot, the elder Ralph narrates the story of the Christmas he wanted a Red Ryder BB gun. The action follows the younger Ralphie on his quest as he works every angle to get his heart’s desire. From asking Santa Claus to writing an essay for school to stuffing his parents’ mailbox full of ads, Ralphie tries it all.
Needless to say, the cast and crew invested a great deal of time and energy into the production, rehearsing every day except Sunday since early November. There was an added challenge this year as well. Sisbarro recruited veterans of TMP Children’s Theater to take responsibility for the production. Emily Boxma, a seventh-grader at MICMS, served as assistant director, while high school students and seasoned actresses Abby Martin and Mariel Sanchez were the musical directors.
For two of the three performances, the three girls ran the show sans Sisbarro, who was attending her daughter’s college graduation. Despite the pressure and packed houses, everyone was a star, and no one shot their eye out.
Delaney Mann Wallett
JessicaLang Devon Wheeler