What has fangs and horns and goes “Ho. Ho. Ho?”

Yes! It’s that time of year: jingle, mistle, golden rings! All those traditional Christmas trappings, familiar and safe — but wait! There’s something rotten under the tree that’s never been seen before…

It’s the new and final revision to a Gilda Shedstecker Presents! Yuletide twist. Opening December 8th at the Kathleen Howland theatre, it’s Hell, with the Holidays, and this year, Krampus is coming home for the party.

Chris (that is, Father Christmas) has become unhinged, and nobody is sure what’s sapping his energy. His own father, Father Time, is convinced that it’s the horrors of war and armed conflict — hundreds of which Chris has been caught in the middle of over the centuries — that have frayed Chris’s nerves.

And so he calls together some of Chris’s siblings, the Holidays, to focus their eternal energy on healing him. If only he could bring them together without drawing the attention of Mother Nature, who doesn’t miss a trick and takes every event as an opportunity to grandstand. And can any family gathering occur without dysfunction? Easter and Hallowe’en can’t be civil to one another. Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day are having a torrid affair, as mythological siblings are inclined to do. The ditzy baby of the family, Earth Day, wants her fair share of the Holiday action. And Jack Frost just wants his quiet Arctic home back.

Then who should arrive but the blackest black sheep of the family, Krampus! Yuletide scourge of naughty children and escort to Hell for the truly evil ones, he’s been imprisoned for centuries so when he  shows up, it’s to the surprise of… well, not everyone.

This non-traditional adult holiday comedy is just right for a modern spin on an age-old institution, the family get together. But at the heart of every tale of holiday woe is the Christmas hope of love and redemption for even the most despicable sibling.

Hell, with the Holidays stars an ensemble of outstanding actors portraying some of the most memorable characters ever. James Ballor is Horatio, the all knowing and powerful Father Time; James Dreussi is the frosty and frustrated Jack Frost; Khrysso Heart LeFey is Father Christmas; Patrice Rittenhouse is devious Delphine, Hallowe’en; Bridget Bazzinotti is sublime Ostara, Easter; Roman Feemster Marshall is the madcap Mariette, Mardi Gras; Michael Burkhardt is lascivious Valentino, Valentine’s Day; Amy Wyler is Georgeanna, Earth Day; Haggy Hageman is tempestuous Jocasta, Mother Nature; and Manuel Halkias is Peter, the Krampus.

Written and directed by Grey Forge LeFey, the show is stage managed by Tawny Plumley Burkhardt with technical direction by Linda Alexander Radak. Hell, with the Holidays opens December 8 and continues December 9, 15, and 16 at the Kathleen Howland Theatre at Avenue Arts Marketplace, 324 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton OH 44702. All shows are 8:00 pm and tickets are on sale now online at AvenueArts.org or by calling 234-410-3475. Hell, with the Holidays is not recommended for young children.

 

Grey Forge LeFey is the artist formerly known as Doug Tennant.

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