During the holiday season, most theaters feature somewhat saccharine, family friendly tales about Santas and Scrooges, but Common Ground, for the past few years, has offered up a different kind of Christmas tradition—a hilarious, heavy-on-audience-participation, third-wall-breaking, trashy little Christmas tale dubbed “A Trailer Park Christmas.” Written by Rachel Klem, who also serves as director, and Jeffrey Moore, the story invites audience members to be guests at an unforgettably tacky Christmas party set in—where else?—a trailer park. Guests are asked to sing along to a slew of Christmas songs, including a show original, and to sample “Treatos,” discarded movie theatre popcorn, and “honuts,” all while watching the story of the Hussey and Dodson family unfold. The clan stands to lose its rightful trailer park place to the evil Norths, a scary storm threatens in the background, and laughs and calamity ensue.
There is nothing serious in “A Trailer Park Christmas,” but with that said, it’s a whole lot of fun, the kind of fun that anyone who is familiar with Robert Earl Keene’s “classic” song “Merry Christmas from the Family,” (included below for your viewing pleasure) is sure to enjoy. In his draggy best, Moore is perfect as the sassy Meemaw Hussey, the outspoken family patriarch, and Klem sparkles with sweetness as her daughter, Loraine. Adding just the right touch of sexiness and spunk is Amanda Hahn as Jolene Dodson, and the rest of the cast, which includes the hilarious Tony Hughes and Nancy Pekar, spin in and out of multiple small but often laugh-inducing roles.
Despite all the ridiculousness that goes on onstage, the show is surprisingly well-directed and well-managed. Treats manage to be passed out to the entire audience with little pause in the action, and even the craziest moments in the show—there are several—are handled with ease. Also to die for are the delightfully gaudy costumes, which include plenty of tasteless sweaters.
Anyone who tires easily of the standard Christmas fare is encouraged to go to Common Ground and spend time in this rowdy little trailer park for a surprisingly refreshing, completely endearing change of pace.
Common Ground Theatre presents A TRAILER PARK CHRISTMAS at 2 p.m. Dec. 22 4815B Hillsborough Rd., Durham, North Carolina 27705.
TICKETS: $19 ($17 students and seniors). (NOTE: The 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22nd, performance is SOLD OUT; but there will be a “Waiting List,” starting at 1 p.m. at the theater.)
BOX OFFICE: 919-698-3870, firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/475980.
VIDEO PREVIEW (by Rachel Klem): http://vimeo.com/80686864.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.cgtheatre.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Common-Ground-Theatre/149219561884761.
Rachel Klem (co-playwright and director): https://www.facebook.com/rachel.klem.71 (Facebook page).
Jeffrey Moore (co-playwright): https://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.moore.146 (Facebook page).
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.