Christmas Time is Here with DHT’S 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'
Let’s face it: Charlie Brown and his friends are truly iconic characters with poignant stories and personalities that have charmed many generations since their advent in 1950. Since then, a spawn of holiday-themed TV specials, a feature film, and a Tony-winning Broadway musical have subsequently touched the lives of people, whether through its relatable characters, touching themes, or sweet storylines. Now headlining as its Christmas show for Diamond Head Theatre’s 103rd season, A Charlie Brown Christmas is a charming delight.
Anyone who has seen the TV Christmas special and sees this show will realize that the dialogue is practically verbatim, creating a sense of nostalgia and familiarity. However, the beginning and end of the show adds slight context unseen in the TV special that lead up to the film’s ultimate theme of finding the true essence of Christmas. Starting off with an affable local family all excited to gather and watch the A Charlie Brown Christmas TV special together, the many members of the family become disappointed when the power cuts out. The stage actors, as characters, use their own real-life names (i.e. “Uncle Mathias” and “Dad Moku”) for this particular scene, and then once dark, the performance transitions into the actual Charlie Brown story, a story that follows a defeated Charlie Brown who wishes society would find its way from a commercialized interpretation and value of Christmas and back to the true essence of it: family.
Upon immediate viewing the show rings major nostalgia through its classic use of colors in identical costumes of the characters donned by each actor. Furthermore, each actor playing the classic characters nail the idiosyncrasies of each character, whether Mathias Maas as Charlie Brown embodying Charlie’s stiff arms at his sides and odd walk, Celia Chun transmitting an aloof, tired nature as Snoopy, or Ixchel Samaniego sporting Lucy’s arrogant head tilt and demanding personality. It is apparent that each actor understands their respective character’s idiosyncratic nature. Kudos must also go to resident costume designer Karen G. Wolfe for her amazing ability to dress each character in identical costuming to the character counterparts.
While the show is indeed charming, what stands out about it is the fact that it truly makes an effort to make the theme of finding the true meaning of Christmas known. There is a pivotal scene in the production when the power comes back on the stage children wish to return their attentions to their gaming devices while at the family Christmas party, but Sally (Brooke Lynne Alcuran) interjects with a medley that refocuses the characters to realizing the essence of Christmas in its true form: family and camaraderie. A short show that runs a mere 45 minutes, after the Charlie Brown plot is finished, the actors all remain on stage for approximately 15 minutes of caroling. Delightful as it is, what is truly remarkable about this segment is that it stays true to the theme of the show and does not sing a single commercialized carol and instead sings traditional songs about the coming of Christ, including “Silent Night” (in Hawaiian!), and, if my memory recalls correctly, songs like “What Child is This?” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” It is truly a time that allows one’s spirits to be lifted and reflect on the true meaning of the Holiday season.
Overall, A Charlie Brown Christmas at Diamond Head Theatre is a delight. Through its nostalgic costuming, to the actors perfectly embodying the idiosyncrasies of their respective characters, to the joyful caroling, this show is a perfect way to kick off the holiday season! The show opened on December 1st and runs through the 23rd. Call 733-0274 to inquire about ticket availability.