Don’t we miss being around our families during festivals? This Christmas, John Dale is also longing for the company of a wife and children. The problem is he’s been so pre-occupied with his career that he never raised a family. With too little time on his hands, the 36-year-old bachelor decides to rent a family for the festivities instead. That’s the plot of city-based Imbroglio Productions’ new musical, Rent-A-Christmas.
In the play, Dale goes to a local rent shop and asks its owner Anne Weston if she could rent him a family. Met with a tall order, Weston quickly finds actors to fit the part. But a bout of measles ruins her plan on Christmas Eve. Next she hires child actors from an orphanage, and steps in to be the wife. This lets loose a string of chaotic situations, carols and Christmas cheer.
Theatre practitioner Jennie George was sifting through several scripts to conclude 2015 with a mini-production when she came across the famous musical Rented Christmas.
George, the director who plays the role of Weston, says, “The plot is unique. Most Christmas stories revolve around how somebody hates the festival and then falls in love with it. Or, how a family wants to stay together on the day. But why would a person enter a shop to rent a family? So the musical is Dale’s journey from being a successful yet lone businessman to having a life he had always dreamed about. I am sure this will resonate with audience and get them introspecting. It’s easy to get caught up in our career, but do we want to wake up one day and ask ourselves ‘Do I have anything else?’
The team has retained the basic premise as well as names of the characters from the original, but has used new songs in this musical, including one original track to introduce Martha, the housekeeper. Characterisation has also been tweaked to make the story, which was originally set in 1970s, relevant now.
The musical was scripted, developed and rehearsed all under two months, especially during weekends. But the biggest challenge was switching between the role of a director and actor, admits the 24-year-old HR professional.
What are her Christmas plans, we ask. “My sister, who studies abroad, will be flying down to the city on Christmas morning. That means a lot to me. And since our company shuts down for two weeks in this season, it’s going to be a lot of family time.”
So catch this heart-warming play, with your family, and see how festivals can mend our mistakes. As the tagline of the play puts it, ‘I’ve never come across a problem that Christmas can’t fix.’
December 12-13. At Rangoli – Metro Art Centre, MG Road Boulevard. Tickets (`250) on
— Barkha Kumari