Odyssey Productions focuses on the play within the play in ‘The Ultimate Christmas Show’

Smith, McColm, and Lavigne rehearse one of their musical numbers from The Ultimate Christmas Show at the Jam Street Shared Art Space on Nov. 10. -- Bailey Sutherland/Daily Herald

The local not-for-profit theatre group Odyssey Productions are kicking off the holiday season with their first play of the year, The Ultimate Christmas Show, and the actors are promising a night full of family fun.

Directed by long-time Odyssey member Layla Shuparski, the play features three main characters who are pressed to perform an entire Christmas pageant by themselves after none of their scheduled acts show up because of a snowstorm.

Theresa Smith, Michael Lavigne, and Michelle McColm play versions of themselves in this heartwarming trip through the holidays, all with different beliefs of what a traditional Christmas should mean.

“I would say my lines reflect a character who is maybe a little bit naïve sometimes,” said Smith.

Born and raised in Prince Albert, Smith has been involved in theatre since she was in elementary school. After doing theatre in high school and moving onto acting classes in university, she was inspired to audition for Spark Theatre’s ‘The Vagina Monologues’ by her teacher, Roxanne Dicke, where she landed her first local role.

“I think I’ve done a play almost every single year since then,” said Smith. “I just really fell in love with it”.

The Ultimate Christmas Show is Smith’s fourth Odyssey play, she was also featured in ‘A Very Die Hard Christmas’, ‘The Three Musketeers’, and ‘Holmes and Watson’. Smith said she has been in almost every one of the group’s productions with fellow actor, Lavigne, and looks forward to working with McColm for the first time.

“I think it’s a really great energy between the three of us and the plays going to be really fun,” she said.

Lavigne was introduced to Odyssey Productions through his stage-managing wife, where he helped to build sets before taking the leap into acting in 2019. He performed in the group’s productions of ‘Holmes and Watson’, ‘The Three Musketeers’, and ‘A Very Die Hard Christmas’, and was a part of ‘Off the Cuff’ on the Wheatland Express in the summer of 2019.

He said that although he plays himself in the show, this Michael is all about what he believes a traditional Christmas is.

“He is all about the religious version of Christmas, that’s what he likes. Throughout the show and the different aspects of it, he gets shown that what he might think is traditional might not be originally what he was expecting a traditional Christmas to be in his mind,” said Lavigne.

McColm said she is excited for the upcoming show because it involves all three of her favourite things, singing, dancing, and being on stage. In 2016, she discovered Odyssey Productions through a friend and met director, Shuparski. She auditioned and was then cast in their play ‘Rumours’ and “the rest is history,” said McColm.

The Ultimate Christmas Show has her stepping out of her comfort zone a bit; she will be playing ‘Jingle Bells’ on ukulele during the play, something she has never done before.

“I’m nervous as heck because it’s scary when you realize you have to be on stage in a week,” she said. “I don’t want to give out too much information but I’m super excited.”

“If you want to come and see something that is similar to nothing you’ve seen before, come and see this,” said Lavigne. “In all realistic expectations, you come in to see a show that the actors are having as much fun as the audience.”

The Ultimate Christmas Show will be one you don’t want to miss. The play runs from Nov. 16 to 19 at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. The audience is welcomed to participate in an optional gift exchange. Tickets for the show are available at www.odysseyproductions.ca for $25, dinner theatre tickets can also be purchased starting at $59.