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Playing for the masses

December 15, 2001

Young Chang

When Orange Coast College's theater students describe their current

holiday production as a variety show, they're referring to more than just

an hour of singing, dancing and acting.

Jessica Teter, a third-year OCC student, says "Christmas is For Kids"

is a blend of Sesame Street, Mister Rogers and Dr. Seuss, but with a

twist.

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Frank Miyashiro, a sophomore who will play Santa Claus for the play

portion of the show, says the weekend audience might make the Drama Lab

Studio resemble something out of an open-air theater from Shakespeare's

day.

Whatever brew this holiday mix makes, the cast agrees it's always fun

to perform for kids.

"The feeling of doing it for kids gives it a different feel," said

Teter, 20. "We're allowed to be cheesier and we're having a really good

time."

Produced by OCC's Repertory Theatre Company and directed by professor

Rick Golson, "Christmas is for Kids" will feature carolers, vaudeville

acts, an interactive joke contest with children in the audience, a Santa

appearance for kids to climb up on stage and sit on his lap and a play

titled "Twas the Night Before Columbus Day . . . I Mean, Christmas."

"It's to get [the audience] in a good holiday spirit, to have fun,"

said cast member Jeannie Morem.

As Morem took a few minutes to comment during rehearsal this week, she

seemed oblivious to the pantyhose on her head.

Dressed in a thick white nightgown, bunchy socks and pantyhose in

place of a nightcap, Morem said her costume is one example of how "Twas

the Night" is a story of everything gone wrong.

A nerdy-looking narrator tries to recite the famous poem, but messes

up so much that children in the audience are called on to prompt him. The

cast illustrating the story behind him refuses to cooperate as Santa

proves incompetent and Sugar Plum fairies cause mayhem.

Some of the cast members, like Morem, who plays the mother of the

household, can't find parts of their costume and opt for desperate

substitutes.

"It's a fun opportunity to come and just laugh," she said. "It's for

kids, but there are jokes for all different generations."

As mixed and deliberately frenzied as it is, Miyashiro said "Christmas

is For Kids" contains a "method to the madness."

"It's a place [where kids] can still be kids for a while and when

you're helping other people laugh, it lifts your spirits too," he said.

FYI

WHAT: "Christmas is for Kids"

WHEN: 2 and 4 p.m. today

WHERE: Orange Coast College's Drama Lab Studio, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa

COST: $6 or $7

CALL: (714) 432-5640

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