KAINALIU — “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”
“I triple dog dare you.”
And a leg for a lamp perfectly centered in the living room window for all the neighborhood to see.
For many during the holiday season, “A Christmas Story” is considered a must-see movie as traditional as the holiday itself.
“I actually met someone who had never seen the movie, and it was nice because as I was trying to explain the movie to him, people would come in and say their favorite part or their favorite lines,” actress Kendra Johnson said. “It’s just a staple at Christmas time.”
Aloha Performing Arts Company is tapping into that nostalgia for this year’s holiday-themed play with a production of “A Christmas Story,” which premieres Friday at the Aloha Theatre. Based on the film of the same name, the play tells the story of 10-year-old Ralphie Parker and his desire to be gifted a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Johnson plays the part of Mother to Ralphie, played by Maximus Wisniewski.
“It’s one of my favorite Christmas movies, and we watch it every year,” Wisniewski said. “I really love the movie, it’s a really funny movie, and I’ve always wanted to be in it.”
“A Christmas Story” is guest directed by Miguel Montez, a frequent actor at the Aloha Theatre who had previously directed “Rocky Horror Show” in 2015. Montez said “A Christmas Story” was the perfect play for his turn at directing a family-oriented show, as he also watches the movie every year for the holiday season.
“While Ralphie and I didn’t have much in common as far as childhoods go, there’s still that purity to the very direct desire of what he wants for Christmas and what he does to get those things that does remind me of childhood,” Montez said. “All the plots we conceived to accomplish our goals, sometimes they were overly complicated. It’s nostalgic for me, and I think it’s nostalgic for everyone that watches it.”
The play will feel familiar to the audiences as well, with only a few new characters and scenes added to make it different from the movie. One of Montez’ personal touches is the addition of Christmas songs played by the child actors using kazoos, which Montez said was his wife’s idea to add even more laughs to the show.
“The show is really pure entertainment, and it’s a slice of pure American comedy,” Montez said.
Other actors include Robb Dahlke as Old Man and Santa, Caiden Mireles as Randy Parker and Tessa Miller as Miss Shields.
Newcomer David Johnson stars as Adult Ralph, who narrates the play and the many struggles of young Ralphie.
“The way that this is written, there’s a lot of tongue twisters, a lot of imagery and a lot of words that aren’t even used anymore. That was the most difficult part,” Johnson said of his first part on the Aloha Theatre stage. “Ralph’s got a lot of things packed into small monologues.”
Like its famous leg lamp, “A Christmas Story” is a play that’s a bit different than the usual holiday fare.
“I love it, it’s kind of a nontraditional-type Christmas story where it has a lot of off-the-wall humor and fantasy sequences,” Dahlke said, who originally was on stage nine years ago at the Aloha Theatre as Adult Ralph. “It’s just a lot of fun, especially going into Ralph’s fantasies and being able to play different characters.”
Info: The play runs for three weekends, this Friday through Dec. 16, with Friday and Saturday shows beginning at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors and young adults and $12 for children. Tickets can be purchased at apachawaii.org.