Merry Christmas, Stephen Leacock!
Humourist Stephen Leacock gave Canadians an identity at the time that the fairly new country needed a voice that bonded it ocean to ocean. His writings were honest and captured a moment in time. Leacock found himself troubled by the onset of War – he understood that Canada needed to support the Allied Forces, but he acked for the young men a young country was sending off to war.
In 1914 when a Christmas ceasefire was declared, Leacock felt so moved by the act that he needed to write. Putting pen to paper he coined a story that was Canada’s Christmas Carol. The story has magically been turned into a chamber opera by Winnipeg composer Neil Weisensel and the SSO is thrilled to partner with Saskatoon Opera to co-produce this charming work that reflects on one of Canada’s greatest writers during one of the country’s defining moments.
Known for his gentle satire on small town life, Leacock wrote the short story “Merry Christmas” as his own cry against the horrors of World War I, and the inescapable robbing of innocence that war brings. In a deceptively short tale, he uses the character of Father Christmas, as a symbolic guardian of all our innocence, cruelly turned into a mad, shell-shocked victim of war, to bring his message home. Using a device that pays homage to his favourite author, Charles Dickens, in the classic “A Christmas Carol”, Leacock (himself a character in the drama) is visited by two spirits over the course of one night. These otherworldly visitations will lead to a transformation – one that empowers the author to use his writing as a tool for peace.
Our production of Merry Christmas, Stephen Leacock will feature tenor Michael Harris as Leacock, soprano Chelsea Mahan and baritone Janaka Welhinda as the two night visitors. The production will be directed by Charles Peters and conducted by Maestro Eric Paetkau.
Friday and Saturday, November 23rd and 24th
Quance Theatre at Education Buildling, University of Saskatchewan
Seating is limited – tickets are just $25.