Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ABET Stages 'An O. Henry Christmas'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ABET Stages 'An O. Henry Christmas'

Article excerpt

Byline: TAMARA McCLARAN

A heartwarming story about community and friendship highlights a holiday presentation opening Friday at the Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre. An O. Henry Christmas runs through Sunday, Dec. 16.

"This story is so beautiful," said ABET President George Maida, who is directing the show. "It's all about people making sacrifices for other people."

Maida calls An O. Henry Christmas a word lovers' delight. He says the play's rich language creates wonderful imagery. The play by Howard Burman is based on classic O. Henry stories, including The Last Leaf and The Gift of the Magi. O. Henry was William Sidney Porter's pen name; he was known for his turn-of-the-century short stories. Many of the lines spoken by the characters are taken directly from O. Henry's stories.

Set in the late 19th century, An O. Henry Christmas tells the story of a homeless man, O.P., looking for food on Christmas Eve. He finds other homeless people congregated and ends up spending the night with them, exchanging stories for food. Before the night is over, everyone ends up experiencing something more.

"Everyone discovers they have something they could give to someone else that could be life changing," Maida said. "That's the universal message."

In the spirit of giving, ABET's performance on Thursday, Dec. 13, will be a benefit for Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry. Tickets for the benefit performance are $15, with $10 from each ticket sale being donated to BEAM. ABET is also inviting BEAM clients to attend a free preview performance of the show Thursday. Tickets for all other performances are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

An O. Henry Christmas has an eight-member cast featuring familiar faces and a few newcomers to the Beaches community theater scene. Maida said he was blessed to find so many talented actors willing to take on a challenging role during the holidays.

"There are no small roles in this show," Maida said. …

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