A Christmas Carol, a Christmas Tradition

A Christmas Carol is a timeless tale of remembering the joy of family, friends and the spirit of Christmas. A story that is a tradition in homes celebrating the holiday, A Christmas Carol has become a tradition at the Playhouse as well. This will be the 38th year for OCP to bring Scrooge, Tiny Tim and all the characters to life for your family to celebrate the Christmas season!

More than almost any other holiday, Christmas is full of traditions: with family, friends, work, school, community and everywhere in between. A Christmas Carol has become a staple at OCP, but our actors have many other traditions as well.

In preparation for the start of the show, with the cold coming and the decorations going up, a few of the A Christmas Carol actors wanted to share their holiday traditions with everyone coming to the show. Are there ones that you participate in as well?

Don Keelan-White (Jacob Marley) joined the ACC cast last year, where he found out that the cast draws names for "Secret Scrooge," a holiday gift exchange. "It just added another wonderful layer to the awesome experience of being in this OCP production," said Don. He also loves having a Christmas tree every year but, being over 100 miles away from home (he is from York, NE), he has now transferred the tradition to his sons, who live together in Benson. Another long-standing tradition is having Christmas crackers, a non-edible item that he and his late wife brought back from a trip to England many years ago. "I love Christmas, and I love being in A Christmas Carol!"

Julie Huff (Ghost of Christmas Past) has been a part of OCP's A Christmas Carol for the past 18/19 years ("I usually just guess at the number from how old my son is."). You would think the actors wouldn't have time for anything else around being in a play, but Julie makes sure her house and dressing room are decorated every year. She also throws a big Christmas Caroling party each year for her friends, where she loves seeing everyone come together to sing. In the show, Julie loves portraying the small stories the audience may not see just as much as the big Scrooge one: "Our own little invisible family stories that turn into something that is not quite real and not quite make believe."

Emily Mokrycki (Mrs. Cratchit) is a part of A Christmas Carol again for her fourth year. Other than the show, though, Emily has a LOT of Christmas traditions: listening to Amy Grant's "A Christmas Album", decorating like a pro, attending candlelight service, opening a gift of pajamas each Christmas Eve and never leaving the house on Christmas Day. This is also her first Christmas being married, so she gets to learn a whole new set of family traditions. "What makes them so special is that each year it makes me think of the most important people in my life. There is comfort and familiarity in the traditions; they make me feel safe and loved." Emily also said that ACC is becoming "one of my favorite traditions every year!"

Jerry Longe (Ebenezer Scrooge) is celebrating his eighth year playing Scrooge, but has also played the roles Marley, Jake and Christmas Present on tours. Other than being a part of ACC, Jerry has a large crab dinner with friends (his "chosen family") every Christmas Eve. His family lives in Texas and Florida, so he makes sure to celebrate Christmas with them every year over the phone.
The Omaha Community Playhouse wants to celebrate these traditions and their importance, and invite you to join us in our tradition. Whether it's your first time or 38th, we hope that seeing A Christmas Carol becomes a tradition that will enhance your holiday spirit.

Omaha Community Playhouse's A Christmas Carol will be running Nov. 22-Dec. 23; Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Before Dec. 15, tickets are $35 for adults and $24 for students. Dec. 15-23, ticket prices are $39 for adults and $28 for students. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, visit the Box Office or click here.

Story by Shannon Kern

21 & Over hosts Lone Tree Productions

Omaha Community Playhouse's 21 & Over program hosts Lone Tree Productions.

Monday, November 11, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Omaha Community Playhouse
Free and open to the public, with an opportunity for donations. No tickets or reservations are necessary.

Lone Tree Productions (special guest artists)
Specializing in adapted works, this Omaha based theatre company pushes the boundaries of performance through creative use of text, movement and visual storytelling. 21 & Over is proud to host our first commissioned work in conjunction with OCP's production of Freud's Last Session. Ransom: En-acting a Myth is an original production based on C.S. Lewis' novel Perelandra. For a prolific writer like Lewis, Narnia was only the beginning...
Adapted from C.S. Lewis's Perelandra by Julia Hinson, Josh Ryan and John Landrie. Actors: Raydell Cordell, Kris Fleeman, Julia Hinson, Drew Roberts and Aaron Wrigley
The 21 & Over productions are intended for a mature audience and discretion is advised. For more information on 21 & Over and other OCP alternative programs, contact Amy Lane, Resident Director, at alane@omahaplayhouse.com or (402) 553-4890, ext. 164.

21 & Over is sponsored by Omaha Steaks and media sponsored by Omahype.

Shine the Light on Hunger with OCP and ConAgra Foods

It just isn't Christmas without A Christmas Carol. An Omaha holiday tradition for 38 years, Scrooge takes us on a life-changing journey that shows us it truly is much better to give than to receive. This year, we ask you to make giving a part of your holiday tradition.

ConAgra Foods is doing its part to make sure child hunger ends here! Join us to help the more than 16 million children in America, including the Omaha-Metro area, who don't have consistent access to food throughout the year. This holiday season, the Omaha Community Playhouse is partnering with Omaha Performing Arts, Omaha Symphony, Opera Omaha, Joslyn Art Museum and ConAgra Foods to collect non-perishable food items for the Food Bank for the Heartland as part of Shine the Light on Hunger.

During November and December, drop off non-perishable food items at OCP or other participating locations to help fight hunger. The top food items needed are:
  • Pasta and pasta sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned fruit, vegetables and meat
  • Crackers
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Pork and beans
  • Hamburger Helper and other boxed meals
  • Canned soup
  • Tuna or chicken
  • Pancake mix
  • Cereal

For more information, call (402) 553-0800.

Beyond the Show: Freud's Last Session

Freud's Last Session is an astute and witty conversation between scholar C.S. Lewis and Dr. Sigmund Freud. Set in London at the beginning of WWII, the threat of bomber planes and radio warnings periodically interrupt their provocative and humorous conversation covering normally taboo topics, such as God, religion, sex and war. This is a play that will engage audiences, provoke thought and seek truth.

Bennie Clark as Sigmund Freud and Nick Zadina as C.S. Lewis

In order to allow audiences to dive deeper into the discussions this production arouses, the Omaha Community Playhouse is offering community conversations and supplementary programs for Freud's Last Session, which will be running Oct. 18 - Nov. 17, 2013. These post-show discussions give audiences an opportunity to discuss themes and subjects within the production with experts and community partners. These conversations are free with the purchase of a ticket.


Lone Tree Theatre Productions
Julia Hinson, Josh Ryan & John Landrie
These 30-minute presentations will include a brief outline of C.S. Lewis' literary work and a preview of Ransom: En-acting a Myth, an original production based on C.S. Lewis' novel "Perelandra" that will be performed for 21 & Over on Monday, Nov. 11.
Presentations dates: Thursday, Oct. 24 // Saturday, Nov. 2 & 9 // Sunday, Nov. 10.

C.S. Lewis: A Summary of His Life and Legacy
Bob Thune - Christian, husband, father, pastor and founder of Coram Deo Church Community
This short presentation will include a brief outline of C.S. Lewis' life and legacy and then open up to questions, comments and observations.
Discussion dates - Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26.

Sigmund Freud: A Summary of His Life and Legacy
Dr. Geoff Anderson – Self-Employed Psychoanalyst and Executive Director of the International Psychotherapy Institute
This short presentation will include a brief outline of Sigmund Freud's life and legacy and then open up to questions, comments and observations.
Discussion dates - Friday, Nov. 15 and Saturday, Nov. 16

Join the director, cast and crew after the performance to ask questions about their process.
Talk Backs for Freud's Last Session will be offered after every performance date not listed as part of the programming above.

For more information on any of these events, contact Lora Kaup, director of sales and events, at (402) 553-4890, ext. 147 or lkaup@omahaplayhouse.com.

Omaha Community Playhouse's Freud's Last Session will be running Oct. 18 - Nov. 17; Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $21 for students. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, visit the Box Office or click here.

The Cornerstones of Humanness

Freud's Last Session is a witty conversation between scholar C.S. Lewis and Dr. Sigmund Freud, based at the beginning of WWII. Both men, known for their intellect and differing life philosophies, are remembered as groundbreaking in how they view humans and life's purpose. In the Omaha Community Playhouse production, Bernie Clark and Nick Zadina pair up to bring these two men to life in order to engage the audience in thought-provoking discussions about truth.

Freud and Lewis were both men that focused on how people became who they became to be. However, the two had drastically different takes on how that happened. Dr. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was a neurologist, known as the father of psychoanalysis. His studying led him to groundbreaking theories on dreams, sexuality and consciousness. Through his work on the mind, Freud came to believe that religious dogma (among other things) repressed people, pointing to the cause of many forms of neurosis.
Bernie Clark as Sigmund Freud and Nick Zadina as C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was a scholar of many things (poet, medievalist, literary critic, theologian, etc.) but came to fame as an author, especially on the subject of Christianity. Initially a religious skeptic, his explanation of Christianity and later conversion has led to him being called "The Apostle of the Skeptics." Science and spirituality can often compete when trying to explain how we are who we are. Freud's Last Session will definitely be a lively and interesting mash between these schools of thought and the men that innovated them.

Clark and Zadina, playing Freud and Lewis, also have their own views on life and the theories of these two scholars. Responding to famous sayings of both men, Clark and Zadina give insight into their personal and cultural understandings of Freud and Lewis.

Bernie Clark as Sigmund Freud
Love and work are the cornerstones of humanness. -Freud
Clark: His life perfectly illustrates the truth of this statement. In his late teens, he met Marta and, as it says in the script, "we fell deeply in love." In 1886, at 20 years of age, they were married. Freud's last book, Moses and Monotheism, was published in 1939, just months before his death. He obviously worked to the end of his life. He loved his work and delighted in controversy.

Experience, the most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. -Lewis
Zadina: I certainly think this quote is true. Lewis suffered many personal trials and tribulations in his life. The death of his mother when he was very young, his father then falling apart after his mother's death, and the loss of his wife when he was much older. I once had a very wise friend tell me that it is always better to tell somebody, "I can't imagine what that must feel like" as opposed to "I know how you feel." None of us truly knows how the other feels. We can attempt to come to a better understanding, but none of us knows how others truly experience the world.

He does not believe that does not live according to his belief. -Freud
Clark: Freud was an atheist. His entire life was devoted to freeing his patients from the repressions he was convinced religious dogma created. Many may question his beliefs, but few can question his devotion to them.

Nick Zadina as C.S. Lewis
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. -Lewis
Zadina: I love this quote as well. The confident person is comfortable attempting to understand other perspectives because they can separate them self from the need to always be right. The arrogant person refuses to be wrong and therefore cannot see two inches past their nose.

Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine. -Freud
Clark: Nineteenth century transcendentalists dismissed the concept of "original sin"; to them, "man was born innocent." Transcendentalists believed social dogma corrupted this innocence. I think Freud, given his view of religion, may have concurred with the transcendentalists. He witnessed the horrors of WWI and nearly lost his beloved daughter Anna to the Nazis. He clearly saw man's conscious and unconscious mind corrupted by (religious?) dogma.

You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. -Lewis
Zadina: I have always thought that in old age if anybody were to ask me what the best day of my life was, I would say tomorrow. Because who's to say that it won't be!

The Omaha Community Playhouse's performance of Freud's Last Session is running Oct. 18-Nov. 17, 2013; Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $21 for students. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, visit the Box Office, click here or check out our Facebook page.

Story by Shannon Kern