Sawduster's Christmas show

Ebeneezer Humbug, left played by Jesse Knudson, is surprised when his long-lost partner (Robert Givens) appears in the saloon during the production of "The Plight Before Christmas" as the Sawduster Theater in Coquille.

Lou Sennick, The World

COQUILLE — With local idiosyncrasies mixed in with its usual melodramatic style, the Sawdust Theatre is presenting this year's holiday production “The Plight of Christmas.”

It's the historic theatre's fourth annual Christmas play and makes its debut Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m., with shows on Dec. 6, 12 and 13 at the same time. Matinee performances on Dec. 7 and 14 take place at 2 p.m.

This year two Sawdusters, Nancy Wilson and Kendra Gray, who are usually on stage take directing roles.

“I've always been hungry for the stage but it was time to step off and take a look at the other side,” said 25-year old Gray, who began taking part in the play's productions at 11 years of age. “It's been amazing and humbling. On the outside looking in, a director's job looks a lot simpler than it really is. There's a lot more involved than barking and telling people where to stand.”

Gray barely finishes her remark when a little girl rushed up to her with a question. “We march on Jingle Bells?” she asked anxiously.

Gray said she couldn't do all the juggling of questions and costume sewing and producing without her partner-in-crime Wilson, who herself became involved in the theatre in 1995.

“It's a labor of love,” said Wilson with a quiet tone.

The two had even more to say about the production's cast, which includes veteran Sawdusters Debbie Grant singing “Winter Wonderland” at the show's opening, and Laurie Kreutzer, who is in her fourth Sawdust production. The show also features younger cast members who have never performed before. In all, 100 volunteers worked on the production.

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“Their dedication and the development they've gone through is amazing,” Gray said. “I could have something sweet to say about every single one of them.”

Both Gray and Wilson are hoping that enough people come see the show for the theatre to earn enough funds for a new roof.

“We're trying to raise the roof,” Gray quipped.

Cast member Kreutzer, who is banking on that, said that it's just the perfect kind of show for the holiday season.

“This production … it's a great play for a Christmas play,” Kreutzer said. “It’s light, cheery and the villain get theirs in the end.”

​Reporter Carly Mayberry can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 234, or by email at carly.mayberry@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarlyMayberry.

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