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By Megan Claflin of the Leader
It’s Christmas in Port Townsend and everyone is in good cheer! Dashing to gather the final accoutrements for the holiday tree and feast, friends and neighbors call out “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy New Year!”
Not everyone is feeling the spirit of the season, however. As snowflakes fall on the aging Point Wilson Lighthouse, Brazilia R. Kreep prepares for another cold, lonely evening. Tucking into his nightcap and shuffling off to bed, the old lighthouse keeper sighs a labored “Bah! Humbug!” But as the Kreep drifts off to sleep the figures of his imagination (or are they real?) aim to teach him the true meaning of Christmas.
Returning to the Undertown Coffee & Wine Bar Dec. 20-23, Black Pearl Cabaret (BPC) aims to delight audiences with a gothic, macabre twist on Charles Dickens’ classic “Christmas Carol.” After October’s four sold-out performances of the debut show, “An Evening with the Kreep,” BPC founder and director R O’Donnell said this retelling is one not to miss.
No Tiny Tims here
In “Kreepmas,” BPC welcomes two newcomers to the stage, Misha Cassella-Blackburn as Matilda Phift, the Ghost of Kreepmas Presents, and Joey Ripley as Thaddeus Plum, the Ghost of Been There Done That.
Cassella-Blackburn has been acting since age 11, first debuting as Sandy Dumbrowski in Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s “Grease.” She went on to play Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” and Peter in “Peter Rabbit.”
She has also been in productions of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Leslie Bricusse’s “Scrooge,” Phina and Sophie Pipia’s “Cowboy Love Song After Watching a Western,” Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis’ “Urinetown” and Key City Public Theatre’s “Expectations” and “f-451.”
She has also done a number of Improv shows and is a member of the Chairs Improv Troupe.
“Cabaret is different from anything I’ve done before but after reading the script and Joey explaining the gothic themes to me I was like ‘Oh yeah!’” said Cassella-Blackburn.
Ripley has acted in several Port Townsend High School productions including the musical satirical comedy “Urinetown” and “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged,” and most recently, Brendan Behan’s “The Hostage.” He was also seen this past summer in KCPT’s “Will They Get Produced?” and “f-451.”
Ripley said his biggest passion is musical theater as demonstrated with a stellar performance as Joseph in the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
“Typically I play the crazy, out of their head character, so Thaddeus is something new for me,” Ripley said. “He knows exactly who he is and the point he wants to get across.”
Cassella-Blackburn and Ripley also combine their talents as The Twimple Twins, two characters very “close” together.
Kreep, Krawl, Krumb
An award-winning writer, director, producer and comedian, O’Donnell developed “The Kreep” as a pseudonym six years ago. Relocating to Port Townsend in 2010, O’Donnell founded the BPC with the mission to recruit a professional troupe of actors, variety artists and musicians to perform original works of a gothic and macabre nature.
O’Donnell said that because he doesn’t audition he can cast roles according to specific actors and talents, building a repertoire and relationship with the community, until eventually he’ll be writing roles for specific actors.
“We’ve started to learn one another, to play and improvise, which all translates into the show,” he said.
“Kreepmas” audiences can enjoy the return of Aidan McClave providing the elemental soundscape as the Kreepy Krawler cellist/butler with haunting melodies and unique sense of humor. Jason Altamirano also returns to the stage as Albert T. Krumb the Krypt Keeper (and narrator).
The role marks a significant step out of character for Altamirano who played a dashing, debonair Romeo in previous performances.
“I definitely didn’t have it on the first read and didn’t know which direction I wanted to go but after a few weeks of toying with the script one line, “a good goblin,” clicked and I had it,” he said.
Tickets are on sale now at the Red Raven Gallery, 922 Water St., or by calling 385-1493. Advance tickets are $10 or $15 dollars at the door. The show runs from Thursday, Dec. 20, to Sunday, Dec. 23, with evening performances beginning at 8 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday.
For more information visit blackpearlcabaret.wordpress.com.