CFTC Presents Two, Classic Holiday Plays in the City of Fairfax
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CFTC Presents Two, Classic Holiday Plays in the City of Fairfax

Will perform ‘The Little Match Girl’ and ‘The Velveteen Rabbit.’

(From left) Anna Zakreski (Francie), Addison Chasey (Dodge), Sam Cooper (James) and Mindy Thomas (Arlene) rehearse a scene from “The Little Match Girl.”

(From left) Anna Zakreski (Francie), Addison Chasey (Dodge), Sam Cooper (James) and Mindy Thomas (Arlene) rehearse a scene from “The Little Match Girl.” Photo by Bonnie Hobbs.

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Rhett Thomas, 9-1/2, a Providence Elementary fourth-grader, has the lead role in CFTC’s “The Velveteen Rabbit.”

CFTC Show Times, Improv, Donations

The City of Fairfax Theatre Co. is performing two plays, “The Little Match Girl” and “The Velveteen Rabbit.” Shows include two, dinner-theatre performances and a sensory-friendly performance, plus a chance to give back by supporting Second Story and its outreach to teens in crisis.

Performances

Friday, Dec 1, at 7 p.m. | Dinner Theatre [both shows]

Saturday, Dec 2, at 2 p.m. | Velveteen Rabbit*

Saturday, Dec 2, at 4 p.m. | Little Match Girl

Saturday, Dec 2, at 7 p.m. | Dinner Theatre [both shows]

Sunday, Dec 3, at 2 p.m. | Velveteen Rabbit

Sunday, Dec 3, at 4 p.m. | Little Match Girl

*Sensory-Friendly Show (open to all)

Tickets are at www.fairfaxcitytheatre.org.

Family Improv Games - Special Matinee Event

Between the 2 and 4 p.m. matinee performances will be a free, family improv event. It’ll be led by CFTC’s Summer Drama Camp counselors and instructor Matt Chapman. Participants may stay for 30 minutes of theatre improv games and experience the magic and power of theatre firsthand. Savory and sweet snacks will be sold.

Second Story (formerly Alternative House)

During this holiday season, CFTC invites the community to give back by bringing donations for Second Story, the area's only shelter for teens in crisis. A representative will be on hand to explain more about the work Second Story is doing in the Northern Virginia/D.C. area.

Needed are: Hygiene products (i.e. shaving cream, deodorant, body wash), food (canned goods, non-perishables, taco shells, pasta sauce) and shoes. Also needed are gift cards in small amounts to grocery stores ($5-10 increments), Metro passes, or home goods stores such as Walmart, Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond.

The City of Fairfax Theatre Co. (CFTC) and Truro Anglican Church will usher in the holidays by presenting two classic stories filled with magic and wonder. On the playbill are Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl” and “The Velveteen Rabbit.” Performances are Dec. 1-3 at the church, 10520 Main St. in Fairfax. See sidebar for details.

“The Little Match Girl” has humor, compassion and issues still relevant today. “The Velveteen Rabbit” tells the tale of a boy and his toy bunny made “real” by unconditional love. Included are two, dinner-theatre performances and a sensory-friendly performance; and food/hygiene items for Second Story – which helps teens in crisis – will be collected.

Little Match Girl

City resident Mindy Thomas and son Rhett, 9-1/2, a Providence Elementary fourth-grader, also play a mother and son in “The Little Match Girl.” Thomas describes her character, Arlene, as “a wealthy, narcissistic, sassy mom. She’s selfish and divorced, and her priority is her latest, young suitor. Her ex-husband is an alcoholic, so their son James has a broken family.”

“James can get anything material from his family, but he has no love,” explained Rhett. “So one day, he runs away and meets Dodge, the Little Match Girl. She lights a match and shows him all the good things in his life. And with her last match, she sees her grandmother, who gave her the matches.”

Thomas likes playing Arlene because, she said, “I feel like she’s everything I’m not. And it’s fun to play someone who behaves badly, because you don’t get to do that in real life and get away with it. My husband Ryan – who plays banjo and mandolin – is composing and playing the background music for both shows.”

The cast ranges from 5-80 years old in both plays, so Thomas says it’s intergenerational – “all these people pretending together. And the audience will be surprised to see a modern, contemporary take on this classic story. It has elements of steampunk, plus great costumes and imaginative set design. And I think people will go home feeling a gentle reminder that love and human connection are more important than anything money can buy.”

Calling it a good, family show for ages 10 and up, Thomas said, “This is great, community theater. I feel that CFTC is the artistic soul of Fairfax and brings together talented people to act, design sets, do makeup and costumes to pull this all together.”

Portraying Dodge is Addison Chasey, 12. “Her parents have died and she lives on the streets,” said Addison. “She’s scrappy, outgoing, confident and stands up for herself. She’s a nice girl, but protective of herself. She’s tough on the outside and doesn’t trust a lot of people. But once she gets to know you, she’s a nicer person.”

Chasey loves her role because “Her personality is right up my alley. I get to light matches and hold a pretend knife to somebody’s throat. I’m onstage at all times and get to interact with all the characters, even if they’re not talking directly to me. I like how tough Dodge is and how ready she is to stand up for herself. She does whatever it takes to survive and always has a comeback.”

She says the audience will like “the cool backdrop where the flashbacks come to life. And they’ll go home thinking how bad Dodge’s life started out and then how she ended up meeting James, a good friend, enjoying her life and finding her happily ever after with her grandmother.”

Fairfax City’s Jessica Russo Revand plays Katherine, Dodge’s future literary agent. “She’s a glimpse into Dodge’s future as an author,” said Revand. “She’s a little into her own power, but she also has a soft side and is using her position to help this child from the streets.”

It’s Revand’s first time purely acting, since she’s always sung and danced. “It feels like a family here, so it’s a comfortable place to do that and explore that passion,” she said. “The kids are relatable, and the story is timely in the issues it deals with. It’s serious subject matter, but the children bring out the humor that kids inherently possess. And it’s really touching; because of Addie’s sweetness, there’s hope at the end.”

Velveteen Rabbit

In this play, Rhett Thomas plays the lead role of someone called simply, “The boy.” He says it’s “the loving story of how a boy gets lots of new toys for Christmas. He’s a spoiled, little kid and, one day, he loses his favorite stuffed animal that he always slept with. Then his nana says, ‘It’s bedtime; here, sleep with your old, stuffed bunny.’”

“So he takes it, plays with it, begins to love it over time and has adventures with it,” continued Rhett. “One day, he tells people his rabbit is real. When he gets scarlet fever, the doctor says all his toys have to be burned, but he saves his bunny.”

Rhett said his character is sometimes a brat to his nana when he doesn’t get what he wants. “But he’s also kindhearted, loves his rabbit and is creative, imaginative and loves pretending,” said Rhett. “It’s fun to play because I go from a brat to an adult, so that’s a nice change. And I’m creative and love to pretend, myself, so he’s also like me.”

It’s his first time playing the main character so, he said, “I’m very excited about it. It’s fun to crack out of my shell and perform for a whole bunch of people; and at one point, I get to be on a balance beam. The story tells how the smallest things can be important and that you don’t always have to do what’s expected of you. Sometimes, it’s OK to color outside the lines. This show will bring out the kid inside everyone.”