What do Matt Damon, psychics and a Chinese dwarf hamster have in common? They're all characters in Suburban Holidays, a festival of new plays at Reading's own Quannapowitt Playhouse (QP), one of the most original holiday entertainment options this side of Boston.
The festival features seven original holiday-themed plays by local playwrights, all set in a town very much like Reading. This eclectic mix of theater, which ranges from touching to hilarious, is grouped into two separate evenings (or afternoons) of theater. Audience members can attend one "track" (single date) for $18, or both tracks (two dates, all seven plays) for $30.
Track A will be performed on Thursday, December 6, Saturday, December 8 and Friday, December 14 at 8 p.m., and on Sunday, December 16 at 2 p.m. It includes:
- Thanksgiving When You're Dating Matt Damon by Lisa Burdick, about what happens to a holiday gathering when a family member shows up in the social pages of the Boston Globe
- White Kwanzaa by Daniel Glenn, about four white women who read a book like The Help and decide to celebrate Kwanzaa
- The Bench by Julie Perkins, about a Christmas Eve encounter between two strangers, and
- Better Watch Out by Patrick Cleary, about you-know-who, who's keeping a list.
"Track B" will be performed on Friday, December 7, Thursday, December 13 and Saturday, December 15 at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, December 9. It includes:
- 12 Days by John Kuntz, where holiday gift-giving runs up against the limited square footage of a true love's one-bedroom apartment
- Suburban Holidays by Patrick Cleary, where a Christmas Eve phone call takes on new meaning in a family where "all the women are psychics," and
- Sunflower's Last Thanksgiving by Sarah Morrison, where a young girl learns important life lessons from her loved ones, including her hamster.
The cast of suburban holidays includes Lisa Atkinson, Steven Atwater, Mei Lu Barnum, Avery Bargar, Barbara Bourgeois, Mike Cerrone, Craig Ciampa, Jaime Freedman, Nancy Curran Willis, Anne Damon, Barbara Dempsey-West, Kay Gross, Kerry Ann Kilkelly, Sharon Mason, John Pease, Sigrid Perkins, Jen Shea, Danielle Vella, Tom Vittorioso, Kathy Wackowski, Ron Wackowski and David Wood.
For more information and tickets, go to www.qptheater.com, or call 781-942-2212.