When God says, “Let there be light,” at the Stray Dog Theater, the experience is a long way from the Book of Genesis. This self-described Bohemian playhouse has always aimed to shock just a little, and around the holidays, they always dare to be different.
“We think there’s a ton of things out there like the Nutcrackerand all the Christmas stories and Christmas carols,” Artistic Director Gary Bell points out, “and we wanted to offer something a little bit different. It still can be thought provoking, but it gives a different experience at the holidays that’s a little different than the usual.”
Stray Dog makes the effort to put on a show that has themes you might tie to the holidays, but a feel that is definitely Christmas counter-programming. This year, their answer is “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.”
The story, like Genesis, begins in the Garden of Eden, but there is a considerable twist. The main characters are Adam and Steve.
“I laughed my butt off,” Bell says of the first time he read the 1990s script. “It’s just hysterical what the differences can be when it’s Adam and Steve as opposed to Adam and Eve.”
The laugh-filled jaunt through the Bible proceeds on through Noah’s Ark and the Pharaoh of Egypt, bringing twist after twist to the traditional Biblical stories. Women enter the scene with characters Jane and Mable, and the four protagonists work their way through challenge after challenge.
These non-Christmas, Christmas stories have become a tradition for regular patrons over the last several years.
“I like that they do the nontraditional,” customer and volunteer Eileen Engel said. “I do like that there’s a Christmas flair but it’s still a little unique.”
Bell says this annual expectation has him seeking out just the right scripts.
“Stories about religion and feelings and emotions, and all different ways of experiencing the feeling that we should look inside ourselves in an introverted way about what we’re experiencing.”
“The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” fits the mold, he says, in just about every way.
“It is extremely fun. There’s a lot of humor in there and it’s very tongue in cheek. But underneath that humor lies a wonderful layer of truth and honestly and innocence and how at the end of the day we’re all alike.”
Engel agrees, saying, odd as it is, the show puts her in the spirit.
“I’m really a traditionalist. I definitely like the cheesy Hallmark movies, the Christmas spirit. But this is a fun twist. You get the holiday cheer but you get something a little bit diffe