By Alix Norman
Christmas… The most wonderful time of the year. And also, thanks to Little Muse Theatre, the most magical. Because the renowned company is back for the holidays with not one but three plays that capture the mood of this special season: The Polar Express, Alice’s Wonderland and All I Want For Christmas.
Spread over the next couple of weeks, each show is back by popular demand. And they’re all three linked in some way to the magic of Christmas: “Each of the performances has a strong element of belief and hope,” says Catherine Beger, Director of Little Muse Theatre and the creative genius behind the plays. “Polar Express is about believing in the magic of Christmas; Alice is about believing in yourself, and All I Want For Chirstmas is about believing, and hoping, that things can get better – the essence of the human spirit.”
Writer, actor, teacher and all-round inspiration, Catherine has – in the past year or so – taken Little Muse from a quiet beginning to a byword for magical storytelling. “The philosophy of Little Muse Theatre revolves around different ways of storytelling,” she explains “it’s both a pathway for inspiring and empowering children, and a vehicle for artists to tell their stories on stage.”
As a teacher, Catherine is the epitome of encouragement and creativity; as a writer, her agile mind the source of many an original script. And as an actor, she lights up the stage. So it’s no surprise that her productions are highly acclaimed, much talked about and a must-see for children of all ages, especially at such a joyous time of year.
“Christmas is a lovely time for families to go to the theatre together; a time for everyone to share in the magic of the season by providing as much good fun and family entertainment as possible.” And while she admits that it’s no easy feat to put on three productions of seven performances in two cities, all while working on a major upcoming event (February’s TRASH!) and teaching every afternoon, it’s definitely worth the effort of bringing these past shows back to the stage.
With Polar Express, Catherine is reviving a much-loved storyline in a performance that’s really “more of an event than a play”. Based on the popular animated film, this is an adaption aimed at younger children which not only requires all attendees – parents too! – to come in their pyjamas, it also involves hot chocolate, a snow storm, sweets, singing and lots of Christmas cheer. “We’re all on the train together,” says Catherine of this enchanting journey, “the children get their tickets clipped by the conductor, and we head off to the North Pole to get the first gift of Christmas from Santa himself. It’s a very simple storyline, but in that simplicity there’s a lot of room for magic.”
No less captivating, Alice’s Wonderland really needs no introduction, having been a smash hit at innumerable schools and theatres all over the island. An inspirational variation on the classic tale, in Catherine’s creative hands it’s become a wonderful piece of theatre with an important message: “Alice is all about a child being able to enjoy what they can do, about finding their own voice and learning to judge for themselves what’s right. It’s a fascinating role for an actor to play,” she adds, “because Alice is one thing at the beginning, and another by the time she comes out of the rabbit hole.”
Also back by popular demand is the 2012 seasonal hit All I Want For Christmas. “It’s a very brave piece,” says Catherine, “which touches on the issues of what’s really important at Christmas, things that maybe we take for granted: friends and family and warmth and a place to stay.” The story tells of a homeless woman – and her pet mouse, Squeaker – who wants only to be able to spend Christmas with her son. “She makes a house out of a cardboard box, a nativity scene from mops and spoons, ornaments from old tinfoil,” says Catherine. “She wishes on a star – the audience wishing with her – and then, in the night, Santa appears…”
Inspiration and imagination, song, joy and laughter. And, most of all, magic. These are the elements that make up a truly wonderful show. And there’s nowhere better to find them all than in one of Little Muse’s productions. So, this Christmas, why not give your children a gift they can carry with them for years to come: the memory of a wonderful, magical time…
Little Muse Theatre presents three Christmas shows:
The Polar Express on December 13 at 10am and December 20 at 4pm in Larnaca, at the Little Muse Theatre. Both performances in English.
Alice’s Wonderland on December 14 at 11am at the American Academy, Larnaca (in English), and also on December 21 at 11am at ARTos, Nicosia (in Greek).
All I Want For Christmas on December 14 at both 4pm and 6.30pm at the American Academy, Larnaca and December 21 at 4pm at ARTos, Nicosia. All three performances in English.
Tickets priced at €5 or €8 depending on performance. Under 2s go free. Adults free at Polar Express
For further information call 96216435, email [email protected] or visit the Facebook page Little Muse Theatre