THE AEGIS: "The Gift"
"The Gift," by The Shadow Players, "is O. Henry with a smile."
By KAREN TOUSSAINT, The Aegis
December 31, 2015
The Shadow Players will present "The Gift," inspired by O. Henry's famous story, "The Gift of the Magi," Jan 4, 5 and 6 at Kilduff Hall at St. Francis de Sales Church, 1450 Abingdon Road in Abingdon.
Admission is free, but donations are welcome. All performances start at 7 p.m.
Playwright Conor Perkins has set the play in present-day New York City. Amy, a poor single mother, has a gold locket with a broken chain. Her daughter, Jo, has a doll that needs a new dress. Each wants to give the other her heart's desire for Christmas, and so the story begins.
Diane Traube plays Amy. The gold locket was her mother's and has her mother's picture in it. Her real-life daughter Amanda plays stage daughter Jo. Amanda's American Girl doll, Felicity, stands in for Jo's doll, Lucy.
Conor Perkins, a 2011 graduate of Bel Air High School and recent graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, lives in New York and works four jobs while pursuing a career in acting.
"Sometimes when I was writing it, it was almost too real – working all the long hours and counting pennies to be sure I could pay the bills and buy Christmas gifts for the people I love," he said.
Except for three adults (Diane Traube, Anne Acerno and William Merlock), the cast is made up of young people, mostly middle- or high-schoolers, including Madison Buddenbohn, Matthew Trulli, Meghan Culbertson, Alycia Ocampo, Frances Fisher, Sara Gorski, Miranda Bengel, Eleanor Fisher and Todd Campo. Triplets Maeve, Evelyn and Nora Acerno, second graders at Fountain Green Elementary School, are the youngest members of the cast.
Erin Perkins, Conor's sister, directs. She pointed out that the last performance of "The Gift" takes place on Epiphany, the celebration of the visit of the Three Wise Men, or Maji, to the holy infant, Jesus.
Referring to "The Gift," Conor's dad, Patrick, commented, "It's O. Henry with a smile."
For more information about The Shadow Players, visit their Facebook pagewww.facebook.com/theshadowplayers.
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Published in The Aegis and The Baltimore Sun