We discovered a great little theater this weekend. The Glendale Centre Theater is a theater-in-the-round, meaning that the stage is in the center of the room, and the audience literally sits all the way around. There are two "tunnels" like in sports arenas that they use for moving props and people around. There are NO bad seats. It is relatively small, and can hold maybe 200 people or so. Contrast this with something like the Pantages theater in Hollywood that can hold 200+ in just the balcony, and you can see the difference.
This weekend, they started their annual production of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." It was fabulous! Even with the small cast of only about twenty members, including a 3-year-old, the quality was great. All the singing was a cappella, which they used as segue between several of the scenes. Several members were simply part of a group of carolers, which sang several traditional carols. With such a limiting stage, the show could have been rather drab, but they maximized the space by incorporating the stairwells as staging for the carolers or the three narrators. All in all, it was an extremely impressive show.
The real joy for us, though, was watching the boys, especially Levi. We were seated right by one of the tunnels, and the show began with the singers coming out to greet the audience personally. We had three different cast members speak with the boys, one of them for quite a while. Levi was absolutely loving it. Then, when the show finally started, he was bopping up and down in his chair to the music. His favorite character was Scrooge, "Because he turned nice." He wasn't too fond of Jacob Marley, though, and kept asking if that was a ghost or an actor.
We've known for a long time that he loves performing. His body language and word choices scream "Entertainer!" He, however, wasn't really able to distinguish acting from real life, until yesterday. He kept asking where the screen was, and referred to the show as the "movie." But, he finally realized what acting is and what it means to play a character. This theater hosts an acting camp in the summers, and I think we'll send him once he's old enough.
This was a great way to open the Christmas season, and I think we might have to go every year.