Lug’s Christmas Carol is a family drama told from the once a year point of view of their tree ornaments. On the night a Christmas tree catches fire the ornaments risk themselves to save the lives of the sleeping family they live with.
A crystal Hummingbird is placed in the Christmas tree of her new home only to discover to her horror that most of the other ornaments are damaged. Her nearest neighbour, an elf named Lug, tells her what happened.
He narrates the family story beginning with a young boy watching his father hand carve ornaments for the family tree. After many years and many ornaments, his father passed away and the young boy, now a man, wanted to carry on the tradition but could not carve. Instead he selected a special ornament every year. Last year’s new arrival was an Ostrich Egg music box with a Ballerina inside. Last year Ballerina and Drummer Boy fell in love. Last year was the fire when Ballerina sacrificed herself to save them all.
My roots are in theatre, a particular kind of theatre, community theatre, where everyone in the neighbourhood volunteers or contributes to putting on the show.
Community theatre is a powerful concept, bringing together various people, young and old, from various backgrounds, wit and wisdom, who contribute to the whole and stand proud for having done so.
The best productions are the ones that fill the stage with as many performers as are willing to participate. And the best time to celebrate this kind of comradery is at Christmas.
I began to imagine what my short story Lug’s Christmas Carol would look like on stage.
Taking that a step further, I reasoned that since the story involved damaged ornaments, it was not too far reaching to imagine agile amputees and wheelchair bound dancers, frolicking across the stage to celebrate the inclusiveness of the story.
I was intent on making something fun and simple, something easily adopted by any community, something that welcomes the participation of the under-served, something that would be as much fun to put on as to watch.
With that in mind, I wrote the libretto for a musical version of the story which includes several dance numbers anyone can participate in and several unique numbers for the principals to aspire to.
The theme of the story is inclusion, demonstrating the power generated when people join together in a common task. And those people in the community who participate in putting the production on will live its theme, and the project itself is the message.
The Ampersand Project
The Ampersand Project is a group of creative performance artists who are designing a community event that celebrates theatre, encourages the disenfranchised to participate, and showcases local talent under the guidance of skilled professionals.
The event is a celebration of the Christmas season, the staging of a life-affirming musical fantasy.
Mounting a community production involves people of all ages, from all segments of the population, who participate voluntarily on equal terms, interacting and co-operating to create one special celebratory event.
We are creating the template for that, a Christmas Fantasy called Lug’s Christmas Carol based upon the short story.
Find out more from my journal entry here.