Firehouse brings A Civil War Christmas to the RVA stage
You can see it in the windows of Barnes and Noble, you can hear it on 98.9, you can smell it in Starbucks, you can even feel it in the air: Christmas is coming.
Thanksgiving might still be a week away, but you better believe Christmas is on its way, and all manner of festivities and extravaganzas with it. One of the first opportunities Richmonders will have to get into the spirit is with Firehouse Theatre‘s production of A Civil War Christmas, directed by Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates.
A Civil War Christmas tells the story of many famous and less than famous figures from the Civil War as they observe Christmas in their own ways.
The show’s director, Dr. Pettiford-Wates, and Andrienne Wilson, the show’s musical director, spoke about the show; what it has to teach us, and the decidedly unique experience it has to offer audiences.
For both of the show’s directors, the opportunity to tell a Civil War story in Richmond was one that could not be missed.
“It seems totally appropriate and very natural,” Wilson said. “It absolutely should be here.” Dr. Pettiford-Wates agreed, “I think it’s good to revisit our past in order to look towards building a future.”
Another strong point of the play is its offering of a wide variety of perspectives. “It’s a better way of telling a story,” Wilson said. Although the characters offering their perspectives are very different, Dr. Pettiford-Wates believes they are united by their humanity. “I think that the play, rather than look at our divisions, looks at our commonalities as human beings involved in this conflict,” Dr. Pettiford-Wates said.
As musical director, Wilson took great care in making sure the musical aspects of A Civil War Christmas were executed effectively.
“Sometimes musicals go on one track, like Les Miserables is all serious, or Annie Get Your Gun is all funny,” Wilson said. But in the case of A Civil War Christmas, Wilson believes, “the obligation, in doing the music, is to really get the feel of the scene, either comedically or in the soulful depth of the character.”
The chance to present this show at Firehouse Theatre adds another dimension to this already nuanced piece. “I think the mission of the Firehouse is to showcase and support both established and emerging artists that come from the American cultural continuum, so I think it’s a perfect show for Firehouse to be producing,” Dr. Pettiford-Wates said.
Wilson praised not only the physical Firehouse Theatre, but the people working there as well. “It’s a beautiful, small space,” Wilson said. “It enables you to have intimate contact with your audience, and everyone there is totally committed and spends long hours doing what they do. I have the highest regard for everyone at the Firehouse.”
The Firehouse Theatre’s production of A Civil War Christmas premieres Nov. 20th at 8:00PM, and runs until Dec. 20th.
Top images via Photo by Adam Ewing Photography
William S. Young is an English student at Virginia Commonwealth University and a prospective professional writer. His work has been featured on iheartchaos.com, rvamag.com, and gayrva.com. William enjoys cultivating himself whenever and however possible, and hopes to someday have an expense account.
Perhaps the usher should have handed out boxes of tissue along with the friendly reminder to use the restroom before the show.February 21, 2017
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