Photo by Don Kellogg

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Looking at Christmas

A delightful poem to the the Christmas windows that dot the sidewalks of New York City during the holiday season.  Skip the madness of of Radio City Music Hall and take a relaxing stroll downtown to the Flea Theater to see what I consider to be one of the best new additions to the holiday show repertoire.  Steven Banks, the playwright, is the head writer for Sponge Bob Square Pants and he's penned a charming, witty, and unique take on a chance meeting of two lonely and lovelorn strangers on Christmas Eve in New York City.  Jim Simpson, artistic director at the Flea Theater, could not have made a more entertaining and satisfying choice to produce this holiday season.

As the two strangers, John (Michael Micalizzi) and Charmian (Allison Buck), meet in front of  Bloomingdale's and decide to stroll down the streets of New York on Christmas Eve, they find themselves questioning their relationships, careers, directions, family and friends.  After revealing a little something about themselves in front of each store window, the window then comes alive and adds a little commentary about what it just saw.  This year, according to the paper Charmian is carrying,  the general theme of the windows is Favorite Christmas Stories - Mrs. Claus and an Elf, Hans Christian Anderson's Little Match Girl, Scrooge and Tiny Tim, A Snowman and Snow Princess, and Jesus and Mary in the stables are among the stories represented in the windows.   With a story and character-specific dash of whimsy, we find out a little something about what each window thinks - and at the same time the romance buds a little bit more.

It's no secret where the story is headed.  And while the pace could be stepped up a bit (changing between the couple and the windows), the story still strikes a perfect holiday note.  When you leave the theatre, you just might want to take your own stroll to see the windows for yourself.  Who knows what they'll be saying when you walk away?