With costumes consisting of two scarves, and a set including two stools, a music stand and some tinsel, simplicity is the key for husband and wife acting team Jeremiah and Vanessa Gamble.
"A Misfit Christmas" tells the Christmas story as it happened in the Bible. The two-person play is being sponsored by St. Francis of the Lakes Catholic School and will be staged 4 p.m. Sunday at Tornstrom Auditorium in Washington Middle School, Brainerd.
Jeremiah Gamble wrote "A Misfit Christmas" and he and his wife have been performing it around the Midwest for four years. Gamble said in writing the play he wanted to keep the costumes and set as simple as possible to let the audience focus on the story being told.
"Christmas is a season of joy. We want people to come, laugh and experience that joy by hearing the Christmas story in a fresh way," Gamble said.
"Christmas gets so commercialized these days ... I wanted to bring something to the community with a Christian base. This should remind people Christmas isn't all about presents and Santa Claus." -- Ann Silgen St. Francis of the Lakes Catholic School parent volunteer
Although the Gambles are the only two actors in the play, they each have about five different characters they play.
"It's fun to be always changing characters. First I get to be an old man, then an angel. It's just fun to play," Gamble said, explaining he and his wife use different voices for each character.
Gamble said the play is meant to be a humorous learning experience for people of all ages. In "A Misfit Christmas," various "misfits," including a tone-deaf angel, an absent-minded census taker, a cow and a little drummer girl, share their stories and experiences of the first Christmas. Christmas carols will be sung during the play.
The Gambles have been at their theater ministry, called Theater for the Thirsty, for more than eight years. Jeremiah has written three other Bible-based plays, in which he and his wife perform.
On average the duo performs about 70 shows per year, with about 20 performances of "A Misfit Christmas" in December alone.
The Gambles graduated from Bethel College in St. Paul in 1995 with theater and music degrees. They got married in 1998 and live in Minneapolis. They've been working in their ministry full time for two years with "A Misfit Christmas" being their first self-written, self-performed exhibition.
"We love doing it every year. It's become a (Christmas) tradition for us," Gamble said.
Ann Silgen, parent volunteer at St. Francis of the Lakes Catholic School, heard about the Gambles' productions through a friend, and thought it'd be good Christian entertainment to bring to the Brainerd area.
"Christmas gets so commercialized these days ... I wanted to bring something to the community with a Christian base," she said. "This should remind people Christmas isn't all about presents and Santa Claus."
There also will be a wild game feed before the play from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at St. Francis Church. A freewill offering will be accepted for the wild game feed, with a donation of $5 per person recommended.
Tickets for "A Misfit Christmas" are $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12. Reserved tickets can be purchased for an additional $2 per ticket. Tickets are available at St. Francis of the Lakes Catholic School, Rafferty's Pizza in Brainerd, the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce or at the door.
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