An e-zine for happenings of local culture in Milwaukee and elsewhere

Holiday Cheer, Next Act, The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Mary’s fiancé backed out of Thanksgiving plans claiming he ate ‘bad chicken’. Unexpectedly home alone, Mary watches the NYC Thanksgiving Day parade as planned. Her entire face a gasp, not only did her fiancé stand her up, but he got caught on national t.v. necking his highly manicured coworker… at the parade.

In a moment that probably got snickers during the show’s run, Mary insinuates that she’s now sure he ate some ‘bad chicken’. After getting publicly jilted, Mary (Susie Duecker) desperately tries to piece her life back together.

Oh Gee Thanks

Having a “typical middle American” social background, Mary’s support network finds increasingly proactive, however oblivious, ways to rally around her. Mary’s athletic and over achieving sister Sally (Susie Duecker) starts Mary on her regimen of unwanted help by getting her to blow off some steam on a punching bag.

Ironically, Mary’s anticipated rage barely registers on the training prop. This vignette gives a taste of how the “normal European-American” woman’s life course will be put on comical display, painted with absurdity, and depicted with exaggerated character sketches.

Mary finds herself jostled between her mom’s social expectations, her Aunt Kathy’s meddling, her personal respectability rules and codes (all 1,462 of them), and of course the sordid dealings of her courtiers. Her misfortune having begun on turkey day, gives ample time for social pressure to build up as each seasons’ holiday approaches, snowballing into her worst year ever.

As Mary recounts these follies in front of her Christmas tree, her mind’s resident keyboardist Jack Forbes Wilson and doo-wop duo Kelly Doherty and Marcee Doherty-Elst boost her dramatic stories with holiday flavored musical accompaniment.

Comedy, Commentary and Places Inbetween

David Cecsarini brings Ginna Hoben’s The Twelve Dates of Christmas to life on Next Act Theatre’s stage. Quip and witty, the one act challenges Deucker as Mary to cycle through about 20 individual character impersonations with thoroughly humorous and effervescent affect.

She travels fluidly to and from personas of her southern aunt, her midwestern mom, a harried New Yorker, a tragically hip barista, an Irish import bartender and a cute kid actor, and several others, immersing the audience in a year Mary’s life in run-on detail.

Kelly Doherty and Marcee Doherty-Elst, well-known for their acting prowess on independent theatre stages, can carry a tune quite harmonically and gave the audience tastes of their Doherty Sisters Cabaret throughout the act.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas closes with a matinee show today (if you hustle) Sunday, December 9 at 2:00p at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. Milwaukee, WI 53204 in the Third Ward.

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