The Misfits Theater group couldn't let Christmas go by without a special show. But it's not a traditional Santa, Rudolph or Frosty kind of presentation.
Written by Tony Thornburg, the troupe's producer, the show is about the American Toy Co. holding its annual Christmas party, with food and tables for each department, which audience members join to become part of the show.
"Each member of the audience is seated at a table and treated like they are a member of that department of the company," said Jan Duke, one of the performers in the show. "The actors act as department heads and talk to the audience as though they are employees. That way we get the audience involved."
"Employees" eat a traditional Christmas dinner prepared by Chuck's Old West Grille and listen to an address by Brent Kidd, a somewhat off-center CEO, who informs them that there may be a spy in their midst.
"Brent Kidd is a character," Duke said. "He kind of hit his head and points to charts and things that are backward, until Carol Bauer helps him out."
It seems there is a missing clause from the copies of defined work.
Suspicion seems to point toward just about every department head.
Amid the accusations and mystery, a touch of "office romance" blooms between a couple of department heads.
Christmas at the American Toy Co. is a mixture of holiday songs, celebration and paranoia as each department blames the others for the problem.
Duke plays the head of the legal department, and all the guests assigned to her table are lawyers and will be treated as such.
The actors use their real names, but are cast as department heads.
"It's different," Duke said. "It's something that we've never done before."
Other department heads will include Bauer, special events; Gail Bell, accounting; Erin Copp, sales; Dan Rice, data processing; Sandi Tenboer, public relations; Tony Thornburg, research and development; and Andra Woolman, production.
Steve Whiteside appears as Ebenezer Scrooge, and Hayden McFarland shows up as the Ghost of Christmas Presents.
Duke said she only did two rehearsals and only has five lines.
"We create our own questions and lines, and talk to the guests, and just ad lib," she said. "This is going to be freestyle. That's the interesting part of the whole thing."
She thought the tough part would be just staying in character throughout the evening, when friends and neighbors try to talk to her, rather than her character.
"It's going to be awesome," Duke said. "It's one big happy party."
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111, ext. 351.
If You Go
WHAT: Misfits Christmas dinner and mystery show
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7-8; 4 p.m. Dec. 9
WHERE: Upstairs at Chuck's Old West Grill, 65 Pike St., Dayton.
CALL: 246-9622 or 336-7979