Do you believe in magic?

Isaiah McAleese, Gerry Fraser and Daniel Handley star in ECHO Players’ production of Blitzen.  - Submitted Photo by Don Emerson
Isaiah McAleese, Gerry Fraser and Daniel Handley star in ECHO Players’ production of Blitzen.
— image credit: Submitted Photo by Don Emerson

A warm, moving story of a family re-discovering the magic of Christmas is the next production set to take place at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach.

ECHO Players presents 13 performances of Blitzen between December 14 and 31.

A Christmas story for the whole family, Blitzen is directed by Eileen Butts, a long-serving member of ECHO Players who most recently directed Anne of Green Gables for Bard to Broadway.

Butts has been active in the community theatre scene ever since she moved to the Oceanside region some three decades ago. She first appeared on the Village Theatre stage in The Mousetrap (1978).  Since then, and over the course of some 90 plus presentations, Butts has been involved in every aspect of community theatre production, mainly acting, directing and stage-managing, but also including 20 years on the board of directors of ECHO Players.

Between 1992 and 2000, she co-directed six Christmas shows at the Village Theatre.

Blitzen, by Julian Wiles, is based on a true story of a South Carolina family who survives a 1989 hurricane.

The comedy is centered around the Christmas after Hugo, one of the largest hurricanes ever to hit the coast. Stephen and Andy’s room, like most of their house, is still in shambles. Younger brother Andy writes to Santa Claus to ask him to fix up their room for Christmas. Of course, no one, especially Stephen, thinks this is possible, and then Blitzen shows up.

The play is about beliefs and believing and how if you really want to believe in magic, sometimes you have to make the magic yourself.

Blitzen is the 20th directorial venture for Butts and she said it has been a lot of fun working with the cast.

Rehearsals started back in October and as opening night draws closer Butts said she is starting to feel excited about the production.

“It’s a great show.  I love the feeling of family and there are a couple of surprises for the audience,” she admitted.

Butts said she is particularly thrilled with the three young actors they chose for the roles of the three boys in the play.

Isaiah McAleese plays Andy, Daniel Handley plays Stephen and Devin Owpaluk plays Alex.

“They interact well with each other and they are doing well in the rehearsals,” she said.

Butts added it is important for their families to get behind them in this endeavor and she is pleased that all of her young actors have supportive parents.

The play will run about an hour and 45 minutes and Butts said while it is billed as a comedy there are some moments that tug at your heart but you will definitely leave feeling good.

Blitzen runs from Dec. 14 to 31 at The Village Theatre located at 110 West 2nd Avenue in Qualicum Beach. Call 250-752-3522 for tickets.


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