‘Christmas Box’ ready to give the gift of laughter

[Matthew Flaherty] “The Christmas Box” performers rehearse for opening night.

The Grinch stole Christmas. Oh, wait. Evil Fred stole the Christmas spirit. “The Christmas Box,” a Little Theatre production performed by Citrus College students, runs through Saturday.

The play is aimed at an audience of children, but the comedy with interestingly funny characters is there for adults as well.

Student director Chris Aranda, 24, described the cast as a talented, diverse group with raw energy.

“I’m proud of them,” Aranda said. “ I love my group. I adore this cast. I think they are all raw, young, and talented.”

There are five women and seven men in the production, all student actors.

Children are “the best audience in the world,” Aranda said, because they will let you know immediately if they like the show or not. “It’s all about sensation. To me, this play has been about sensation. You need to get their attention.”

Actor Taylor Stone, who plays the snowman Sigmond, said that “It’s fun entertaining children and rewarding to try and create that magic for them.”

The play is about the Christmas spirit being stolen by Evil Fred, played by Chris McKinley, who locks it up in a huge box. People who try to open it get trapped inside. The world has no more Christmas spirit. It’s up to the mischievous Baker triplets to go on a journey to the North Pole to save Christmas.

Along the way, they meet elves, snowmen, and, of course, Santa Claus.

“I knew the second I saw them that we had a really strong cast,” said the assistant student director Ana Mateo. “I knew when paired together, it would be like magic, and we paired certain people together like Evil Fred and Pickles (Kevin Figueroa). We knew they would have chemistry.

Tickets for “The Christmas Box” are available at the Haugh Performing Arts Center box office and at www.haughpac.com.

Tickets are $5, so bring your brother, sister, cousin—heck, invite your old elementary school buddies—and come enjoy a humorous Christmas play. Dec. 8 would be a perfect opportunity, with two shows at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.