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OHS’ “It’s A Wonderful Life” production to take new directorial challenge head on

The Oxford High School Theatre program is performing a rendition of the Christmas movie classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” that’s somewhat different than a normal stage show.

OHS’s rendition of the show is a reading of the movie’s script, with OHS actors and actresses playing actors and actresses from the 1940s who are doing a radio reading of the show.

OHS theatre director John Davenport said this type of show posed a challenge for him directorially, as it wasn’t as simple as actors playing a specific role.

“Where normally we stage a show based off a character’s motivations,” Davenport said. “In this one, the character’s motivation is just to be at the microphone at the appropriate time to read their line.”

“It’s actors, playing actors, playing characters.”

Davenport said there originally wasn’t a Christmas show on schedule for this season.

When OHS decided to add a Christmas show to the season, “It’s A Wonderful Life” stuck out to him as one that allows OHS to have a much bigger cast size.

“We decided to add a show just to give more opportunity,” Davenport said. “This one was one that kind of stuck out to me as being relatively simple enough to do quickly, but has a lot of potential for being a good, quality show.”

The show is set in 1946, around the same time the classic film was released. The characters in the show are also actors who are performing the show over the radio, which is reminiscent to how families enjoyed performances in the 1940s from home and before television was invented.

This is where the show takes on its novelty.

“The novelty of it is it’s a group of actors in 1946 who have come into the radio to read this play on the air,” Davenport said.

While younger generations aren’t very familiar with the movie, Davenport said the cast was familiar with the movie’s iconic lines and familiarized themselves by watching the original movie as a whole.

His hope is, even though members of the student audience aren’t familiar with the show, that parents who are bringing their children to the show are the ones that recognize “It’s a Wonderful Life” as a holiday classic.

“In their culture today, I’m not so sure they would immediately say, ‘oh yes, I know that, that is a classic,’” Davenport said.

The show will be performed December 13-15 and will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Kayla Mize Auditorium at Oxford Middle School.

Tickets are available online, as well as at the door.