If you go
› What: “The ReGifters”
› Where: Oak Street Center, 433 Oak St.
› When: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec. 1 and Dec. 6-8; 1:30 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 2 and 9
› Admission: $25 (reservations only; tickets not sold at door)
› For more information: 1-800-838-3006 (option 1)
› Website: www.brownpapertickets.com (type in Oak Street Playhouse)
C'mon, admit it. You've received a gift that immediately upon opening you knew you'd give away. C'mon, admit it.
You're no different than three of the couples in "The ReGifters," a Christmas comedy by Robert Lynn that opens on Friday, Nov. 30, as part of Oak Street Playhouse's annual dinner theater.
The dinner theater will be offered this weekend and next in the playhouse's Flo Summitt Theatre in First-Centenary United Methodist Church. The dinner begins in the church's Oak Street Center.
"It's one of those shows everyone can relate to," said Jerry Draper, managing producer of the playhouse and director of the production. "Most everyone I know has regifted or been the victim of regifting."
As the show — winner of the 2005-2006 New American Comedy Festival — unfolds, the Henshaws receive a gift mailed to them from a couple they met in Germany a year and a half ago and whose son stayed at their home for a semester earlier that year. They are unclear what the gift is and variously guess it is "a shoeshine box," "a toaster," "a nutcracker" and a "worthless piece of junk."
In time, they give it to the Mulligans, who, in turn, give it to the Cunninghams, who, in turn, give it to the Weisses. Eventually, the first three couples learn the gift has true value and they have been foolish to give it up. But is there time to do anything about it and can anything be learned from the annual Christmas gift-giving exercise?
Each of the first three couples, Draper noted, have problems with which audience members will be familiar — the spouses who are cold and distant from each other, the pair who are having mother-in-law problems, and the two who are frugal with friends but materialistic themselves.
The fourth couple, the Weisses, however, are barely making ends meet but have true love for each other. They wind up teaching the others the true value of Christmas.
"The major point," said Draper, "is how so many get caught up in materialism — anything but the real meaning of Christmas."
Notwithstanding the major point, the director described the production as a "comedy incorporating broad comedic action" in the style of a Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett skit. As such, he said, "timing is very important, and the [nine] characters have to be larger than life."
Draper said "The ReGifters" offers "a great amount of laughter," a holiday-themed setting, a family drama that deals honestly with materialism and relationship issues, and "a focus on what is really important about the holidays."