by Stephen Heatley
with Marney Heatley and Edward Connell
From start to finish, the show is completely entertaining, buoyed by a troupe of terrific actors, a fabulous set and lighting design and catchy, charming tunes – all under the very capable direction of Ian Leung.
The thing about the North Pole is that there’s an infinite number of sides to it. Each step you take around it exposes you to yet another, brand new opposite hemisphere, filled with a new mix of wonders and wonderful people. In short, at the Pole, there’s no avoiding consideration of those who are different from ourselves.
In our increasingly globally oriented and digitally connected culture, we’re constantly encountering people different from ourselves. While it seems like this should only be a good thing, at present our differences seem to be tearing us apart more than they’re bringing us together.
In western culture, we seek to celebrate values that can counter destructive divisions, both personal and cultural, at Christmas – values such as inclusion, tolerance, generosity, compassion, and universal kinship. Arguably, these values are at the core of that ineffable Christmas spirit we’re always seeking at this time of year. And it’s through plays like Stephen Heatley’s that we can follow the journey each character in Split Hoof (and the North Pole) takes to rediscover that spirit for ourselves.
As Willy Witherspoon says, “But there ought to be Christmas.” Regardless of whether we celebrate the values embodied by the spirit of the season in form of Christmas, or in some other way, here’s hoping we can all spread more peace and goodwill to all and to each other throughout the year to come, and on every side of the pole.
Alex Kringle, the Mayor of Split Hoof, hates Christmas so much he’s banned its celebration in that quiet little prairie town. But when his young daughter Sandy befriends Willy, a cognitively disabled young man who was cared for in a home away from home returns to town and begins asking what happened to Christmas, he suddenly
Sandy:Emily Howard Willy:Ben Oomen Alex: Silverius Materi Pix: Jaime Reese Kris Kringle: Benjamin Stevens*
Mylar: Erin Pettifor
Playwright: Stephen Heatley with Marney Heatley Composer: Edward Connell
Director: Ian Leung*
Musical Director: Morgan McKee Stage Manager: Piper Rempell Assistant Stage Manager: Braden Guido Set Design: Daniel Van Heyst
Costume Design: Gwen McCagg
Lighting Design: Billy Robinson
Technical Director: Lowen Carlson
* Courtesy of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the D.O.T. Policy.