Silver Spring Stage may just have the antidote for those suffering from the cold and long winter nights. Known for innovative but always engaging productions, the company’s holiday show, “Season of Light: A Winter Fairy Tale,” follows a magical band of outcasts on a heroic quest to find the source of light.
Leading the way is Magda, a young peasant girl who must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to save the world from darkness. It’s a holiday show for children of all ages who like their magical realism to come with a dose of girl power.
“It’s very different from the usual holiday fare in that it speaks to what’s happening now,” said Director Katie Rey Bogdan about the play set in medieval Eastern Europe. “It’s about the search for light by people rejected by their families and villages. There are some dark moments, but it’s absolutely uplifting.”
Claire Gunthert, an 11-year-old Eastern Middle School student, plays the indominable Magda. Since rehearsals began in October, she has developed a fondness for her character — a seemingly ordinary girl with the strength and smarts to lead a motley crew through a forest full of danger.
“I really like playing Magda,” Gunthert said. “She’s a kid, but she’s persistent. She does things I wouldn’t be able to do — like journeying to find the source of the sun.”
Gunthert reads-through her lines daily, with a little help from family and friends, and is excited about the show’s elaborate staging. With a large cast of both adult and child actors, and a plot involving swordplay and dancing, there is plenty of action during the hour-plus show.
“Magda is literally thrown across the stage at one point,” Bogdan said, adding that the staging of that toss is being taken extremely seriously by the cast.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Gunthert, the toss-ee, with a smile.
Carlos Reaves, who plays a key role as Rodrigo, a father figure for Magda and the outcasts, thinks the show is refreshingly original. “It’s non-traditional, not what you’d expect for a holiday show,” he said.
He describes his character of Rodrigo as brave but with a mysterious back story. “I want to make sure he’s real, inspiring and entertaining,” he said. After 15 years in the fashion business in New York City, Reaves recently returned to his native Silver Spring to pursue his interest in acting. Between acting classes, work and rehearsals, his plate is full — in a good way.
“It’s a wonderful thing to experience this facet of entertainment,” he said. “It’s my debut and I’m embracing it.”
Steph DeFerie’s “Season of Light: A Winter Fairy Tale” runs from Dec. 7 to 16 at Silver Spring Stage, Woodmoor Shopping Center, 10145 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Shows starts at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $22 $25. Visit www.ssstage.org or call 301-593-6036.