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‘You’ll shoot your eye out, kid’; RCLT to perform beloved holiday comedy classic ‘A Christmas Story’

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From left: Randy Nolan as the Old Man and Aiden Smith as Ralphie are admiring their new lamp. Meanwhile, Louise Montague as Mother is not pleased. Avery Lawless as Randy seems to be frozen in awe. (Christina Stock Photo)

The comedy “A Christmas Story” has become an American tradition to watch on TV since the release of the movie in 1983. The story takes place in the 1940s, when a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun really is the perfect Christmas gift.

The story was adapted by Philip Grecian for stage.

This is the first stage production under guidance of Zack G. Anderson as director at the Roswell Community Little Theatre. He has selected the play as well. Anderson has been on the play selection committee for the past several years.

“We were looking for stuff that people like that everybody really responds to,” Anderson said. “I am trying to get something here that everybody wants to try to see.

“Everybody is going to talk about it — it will be something really good for everybody in Roswell and Artesia, Hobbs and Ruidoso. We want everybody to come out,” he said.

A certain lamp and the fascination of Ralphie and his father will make an appearance.

“Actually, I was just working on it — on both,” Anderson said. “We need one that’s intact and then it gets broken in the story. There is no way to break it on stage. I need an intact one and a broken one. We are going to do some clever lighting to switch them out.

“That’s another cool thing for the theater, we are getting a new lighting system coming up and it’s going to be in time for this show,” Anderson said. “We are planning on doing some new cool effects that have never been done here at RCLT ever before. We are really, really excited about that.”

Ralphie is performed by Aiden Smith.

“He is the focal point,” Anderson said. “He is on the quest to get the ‘legendary official Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.’ And the actor has this tongue twister down to a point. You’ll hear it so much you’ll be quoting it on your way out.”

Aiden is 11 years old, attends Berrendo Middle School and sounds like a pro already.

“I hope this is a career that I can do professionally when I am older. It is really fun to do,” he said.

There is one obvious difference between the stage production and the movie.

“Ralph is the grown-up version of Ralphie,” Anderson said. “In the movie, he’s only a voice over, but here, he is on stage; he’s doing a little bit of interacting. It’s kind of like with Ebenezer Scrooge, where they don’t see or hear him, but he does interact with Ralphie sometimes. It’s interesting. It is what you know (in the movie) but it’s also new and different. Ralph is played by Berkeley Dittmann and his understudy is Jaron Morris.”

Morris works and lives in Artesia and commutes for the rehearsals. “It’s a lot of fun so it’s worth the trip,” he said. “I have never seen the play, but the movie was one of my favorites since I was a kid.”

Gina Montague is supporting Anderson as assistant director. Other characters are performed by Louise Montague as Mother, the Old Man is played by Randy Nolen, Randy is played by Avery Lawless, Miss Shields is Michele Massey, Flick is Shana Maring, Schwartz is Soren Thorsted, Esther Jane Alberry is Alice Samuels and Helen Weathers is Elise Taylor.

Scut Farkas is Emery Carter.

Understudies and extras: Shelly Forrester, Emma Hargrave, Cale Taylor and Edrice Tozier.

RCLT is located at 1717 S. Union Ave. The public has three weekends to see the play, Dec. 1-3, 8-10 and 15-17, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For more information, visit roswelltheatre.com or call 575-622-1982.

Vision editor Christina Stock can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 309, or vision@rdrnews.com.