Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie and a local rendition—with some variations – is going to be a Christmas production.
Director Layla Shuparski said the script follows the movie quite closely – for the most part.
“When I read the script, it was Die Hard, the movie, just with some music and some extra innuendos from characters like Alan Rickman’s Professor Snape,” she said.
The movie takes place during the Christmas season and that is enough to make some people think it’s a Christmas movie.
“I’ve never thought Die Hard was a Christmas movie,” said Shuparksi with a laugh. “My husband believes it is a Christmas movie even though I don’t.”
She did enjoy the script though and so Odyssey Productions decided to go ahead with the production.
“When I read the play I loved it, I thought it was witty and charming,” she said.
The play boasts 15 actors portraying over 20 roles. That makes it a challenge as does the fact that it is a musical.
“It’s a lot more rehearsals,” Shuparksi said. “You need to have your music rehearsals and dance rehearsals.”
The fact that actors must also be able to sing as well as act makes it trickier to cast as well, which was why Shuparksi was glad to find the John McClane actor she did.
“I was very lucky. When he came out and auditioned, I’m like, ‘hey I know this guy and what he can do,’” she said. “It worked out perfectly.”
Watching the movie as he was growing up made Michael Lavigne very excited to play the John McLane character.
“It’s a classic,” Lavigne said when asked about his approach to the role. “You just love seeing something like this and you want to do what you can to portray the character the best you possibly can.”
He identifies somewhat with the character and understands his emotional reactions to events.
“There are definitely some parallels to everyday life, just maybe not jumping out of exploding buildings and shooting firearms all the time,” he said.
On a personal level you can kind of relate to it when you look at the relationships he’s got going on.”
Because Die Hard is an action movie, Lavigne said he had to get used to the way his clothing moves when he does some of the more physical parts.
He has no problems putting the script and the Christmas holiday together in his mind.
“When you see this at Christmas time, it’s set at Christmas time, it’s hard to say it’s not a Christmas movie with those going for it,” Lavigne said.
As part of preparation, the entire cast had to watch Die Hard as a group to see and understand the script. For a few, it was the first time they had seen it.
“They’re excited. It’s really nice to have people to be around,” Shuparksi said of the mood amongst the cast. They have practiced for weeks, but not all on one stage together. That happened on Sunday, Nov. 21.
Both actor and director are sure of one thing and that is the ability of the audience to enjoy themselves.
“Anyone that comes in, they’re going to have a fun time,” said Lavigne. “Yes there is word for word a lot of the quotes that are in the movie are in the show but some of the stuff that’s thrown in here, you just think, wow.”
The troup is also glad that there is no requirement for actors to be masked on stage in the current COVID restrictions.
“When you’re up there and you’re acting, it’s hard to portray your feelings if you can’t see faces,” she said.
Actors will still be masked back stage and audience will be required to show proof of vaccination and wear masks.
The show on Nov. 24 has no meal with a $32 ticket cost but those from Nov. 25 to 27 are dinner theatres with a buffet service with servers.
Tickets are $60 plus electronic ticketing fees and are available online at www.odysseyproductions.ca. or on Eventbrite.
The adult language from the movie is very much present in the play and so not suitable for children although the troupe will be putting on Munsch at Play, based on the books by the children’s author, Robert Munsch in April.