Post-Holiday Haze – are you WELL?

The ShakerBrian Edward Leach

Greetings ‘Burgh Vivants!  A very Merry Christmas from all of us here at BV.

For me, Christmas Day itself has always carried with it a strange energy.  All of the big build-up; the songs, the cookies, the sales, lights and decorations running the gamut from elegant to garish – all of it a technicolor locomotive barreling unrelenting toward Ground Zero: Dec. 25th.    And whether this day itself puts a roll in your eyes or a song in your heart, there comes with it a solemnity of knowing that its all over.  Until, of course, the day after Halloween comes ’round once again, and the cycle begins anew; louder, faster, brighter.  But there’s a stillness upon the summit, after the whirlwind incline of frantic shopping, card writing, and the joy, dread, or indifference of interacting with relations we may only see once a year.  Somehow, you’ve worked.  Whether you were the one preparing the Christmas dinner, or enduring it.  Whether you were a Christmas Commando, charging headstrong through the season, little drummer boy at your side, holly in hand, and knitted sweater ablaze – or a benign “armchair enthusiast” with a more discreet capacity for “jolly,” simply caught up in the current, clinging to the one obligatory Christmas decoration you’ve put up as if it were driftwood upon the churning sea.

It all ends today.

And as we lay we down to sleep tonight, we begin to sulk into the odd twilight zone between Christmas and New Years.  The lights and tinsel are still up, no longer sparkling with the promise of a Christmas Eve sizzling with anticipation, but rather serving a reminder that there’s a chore to be done in boxing them up.  In many hubs of commerce, the familiar music still plays, forcing even the most dedicated elf to say quietly in the private chambers of the mind, “Enough, thank you.”  Just as in a break-up that happened for all the right reasons, we’re ready to move on.  But in the post holiday limbo, we’re still a bit lost.  Business hours are anyone’s guess, and we’re timid to reach out to friends with suggestions of hitting the town for we assume that they too must be bearing the burden of the same limbo, but in a different shade.  With Santa now enjoying a Corona, feet up, on a beach in Cancun, who can possibly entertain us?

Like a beacon in the night, or dare I say a reindeer with a red nose, our friends at Off The Wall Productions have supplied an excellent refuge.

Off The Wall is one of the only professional theatre companies in the city lacing up their boots and getting back to the trenches the very day after Christmas – and just for you.  Dec. 26th, 27th, and 28th mark the closing weekend of its current production WELL, by Lisa Kron, directed by Melissa Hill Grande.  In its inaugural year, ‘Burgh Vivant has been delighted to feature this dynamic, professional company.  They’re small, but they’re mighty, having recently settled into a freshly-designed theatre in Carnegie, just minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.  The productions and performers are consistently top-notch, and WELL is no exception, boasting a stellar cast of Daina Michelle Griffith, Virginia Wall Gruenert, Tony Bingham, Alan Bomar Jones, Linda Haston, and Susue McGregor-Laine.  Nominated for a Tony Award in 2006, the play uses humor and inventive storytelling to depict the relationship between the playwright and her ailing mother.

As contributor Mike Buzzelli points out in the recent ‘Burgh Vivant review of WELL, though it’s not particularly a holiday-themed play, the challenges put forth by the skilled cast may very well be similar to those that we confront while willingly (or unwillingly) spending time with our family during the holiday season.  At the risk of sounding crass, there may be no more deserved remedy on December 26th than to be entertained by someone else’s dysfunctional family.

So, rather than wallow in left over ham and fruitcake, get out there, relax, and take in a little culture.  WELL is without a doubt one of your best bets in town for some post-holiday respite.

WATCH/LISTEN:  ‘Burgh Vivant interview with OTW Artistic Director and leading actress in WELL, Virginia Wall Gruenert


One Reply to “Post-Holiday Haze – are you WELL?”

  1. Merry Christmas to you. Well written description of the after Christmas not so merriment . Have a wonderful New Year and keep the ‘burgh Vivant reviews,interviews and editorials coming!

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