Rosebud students tell Christmas story through clowns

By Laureen F. Guenther Times Contributor

Three clowns will tell the biblical Christmas story – in their own way – in the musical comedy Oh Manny! A Holy Mo Christmas Show, Dec. 15 to 17, in Rosebud.
“Oh Manny! is the story of three clowns named Follie, Buffoona and Guff,” said Maggie MacKenzie, the Rosebud School of the Arts student who’s producing the show as her final project.
“They (the clowns) travel around from town to town, telling different Bible stories,” MacKenzie said. “In this show, they happen to be telling the biblical Christmas story, and they’re all kind of in a bad mood. They’re having trouble getting along and that starts to show.”
MacKenzie plays Buffoona. Classmates Bethany Wickens and Caitlyn O’Connor play Follie and Guff. The play was written by Lucia Frangione, who also wrote Cariboo Magi, now playing in Rosebud’s Opera House. Marie Anderson Russell composed the music.
It may seem strange to have clowns tell the Christmas story, but MacKenzie said it’s also fitting.
“There’s something about the clowns that kind of lends itself to the Christmas story, because it’s something that’s been told so many times.
“They take the story that’s thousands of years old,” she said, “and I think they do a good job of making it really relevant and challenging society today. And I think people see things in their lives in a different light, in maybe a not-so-serious light.”
For MacKenzie at least, the play had that impact the first time she read it.
“I was laughing out loud and I was amazed, because this was a story I knew super, super well, and it was suddenly fresh and really exciting,” she said. “I think they (the clowns) love the story and I think it helps the audience to really learn to love the story.”
And although the play is hilarious and silly and playful, it asks challenging questions too.
One key question, she said, is about how we feel God’s love. Through the clowns’ example of learning to show love to each other, especially when it’s hard, they help the audience experience God’s love.
Oh Manny! will be performed in Rosebud’s Akokiniskway Gallery at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15, 5 p.m. on Dec. 16, and 2 p.m. on Dec. 19. Tickets are $15. Call 587-736-0002 or email to reserve or for more information.
“We just want to bring you some joy and some laughter this Christmas,” MacKenzie said. “I think coming to see Oh Manny! would be a really great way to do that. Spend some time with someone you love. Take the drive out to Rosebud and laugh a little bit.”