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Christmas in the Park teen actors take on ghostly roles in 'A Christmas Carol'

By BY ALICE ADAMS
Nov. 24, 2010 at 5:24 a.m.
Updated Nov. 26, 2010 at 5:26 a.m.

Loria Rose

CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK... a partnership production by Theatre Victoria and Lifepointe Fellowship, will open in DeLeon Plaza on Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. Bring lawn chairs, a picnic and enjoy the show. On Saturday, Dec. 11, the show will relocate for a performance at 1 p.m. at Victoria Mall before moving to Hiller House for a 4 p.m. show. Then, the Sunday before Christmas - Dec. 19 - the show will be on stage at Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts during the Lifepointe Fellowship's 10 a.m. service.

Loria Rose, a 16-year-old home-schooled sophomore, has been involved in theater since sixth grade, both in productions for home-schooled students as well as productions at Theatre Victoria and summer drama camps.

"This last summer, I played the little red-headed girl in Charlie Brown and had so much fun," said the articulate and personable teen. "I love theater and it's something I can see myself doing for a long time," she said, "so I'm thinking of majoring in theater when I go to college. You can do theater for a career, but it's a fun thing, too. I mean, who wants to do something boring?"

Playing the role of the "Ghost of Christmas Past" in Charles Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol," adapted by Theatre Victoria's Producing Artistic Director Charles Moster, Loria said she's really enjoying the experience, and it's the first time she's appeared in a play with her dad, Larry Rose, as director.

Because this is the first of Theatre in the Park productions, none of the cast has ever been on an outdoor stage. "It's going to be a challenge," Loria said, "but what's the point of doing anything if it's not a challenge ... and it's going to be fun."

She's also excited because the various venues make it possible for everyone in Victoria to take part in this budding holiday tradition.

"By making it convenient, inexpensive entertainment for the whole family, we're hoping lots of people come out to see theatre and learn more about the excitement it offers," Loria said, "plus it's an important family time of the year and an experience you won't forget."

Truly a family affair, with Dad as director and Mom as stage manager, Loria said she enjoys the family time they're spending together as they rehearse for Christmas in the Park. "We're not separated like some families who go in six different directions, and we're all doing something we love as we work on this show."

The actor said the show, along with being entertaining, carries the timeless and classic message that it's never too late to change. "It's a story that carries a message for us all and that is ... we are all blessed. It's just that we don't always see those blessings, no matter how much or how little we have."

* * *

Sarah Reese, 13, an eighth-grader at Shiner public schools, has an unusual part in the upcoming Theatre in the Park performances of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," but it's a part she's been preparing for almost all of her life. For, as the "Ghost of Christmas Future," she speaks no lines and communicates only by gestures and body movement.

Her role has its ironies that go all the way back to the time her grandmother, who is deaf, performed in "Snow White" with an all-deaf cast.

"My grandmother and all my great-aunts are deaf, and my grandmother taught me sign language so I can communicate with her," Sarah explained. "Sign language and communicating with the deaf is all about gestures and facial expression and less about words, just like my part in 'A Christmas Carol.'"

A veteran of the stage, Sarah has appeared in a number of TV productions, attends summer drama camps and has had parts in the summer musicals, she said. "But my favorite role was in 'Wait Until Dark,' which was at Theatre Victoria in 2009."

Her career in theater began with her audition for her first play, "Miracle on 34th Street," in which she landed the leading role. "My grandmother came to see this show, all the way from Florida, where she's part of the deaf club. That was exciting," Sarah added.

Acknowledging that she may be more mature than most 13-year-olds, Sarah said when she appeared in "Wait Until Dark," the cast included five adults. "I was in the fourth grade and I was the only kid in the case, but I loved the whole experience."

The "Ghost of Christmas Future" is a role that's all about hand movements and body language," Sarah explained. "Having to express yourself and your character without lines makes it a challenging role, but I like it a lot."

Alice Adams is president of Alice Adams Communications in Houston and Austin. She serves as a consultant, co-author, author and editor for numerous projects. She lives in Austin. Contact her at Rtadams2@aol.com.

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