Concert Music, Holiday Happenings, City Picks

Gift of the Magi

When: Thu., Dec. 22, 7 p.m. and Fri., Dec. 23, 7 p.m. 2011

By the final week of the holiday season, it’s OK to feel exhausted. We’ve paced through shopping malls searching for that one last present, broken a sweat trying to find where we put those pesky stockings last year, and we’ve nearly fallen out of second-story windows trying to hang Christmas wreaths. If you’re starting to ask yourself why you’re going to so much trouble, let Gift of the Magi serve as a refresher. The famous short story by O. Henry tells the tale of two young, poor lovers who go to great lengths to purchase Christmas presents for each other. The Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina and Chamber Music Charleston are bringing the short story to the stage with a musical twist under the direction of Sandra Nikolajev. The premise of the play is based on the legend that the author wrote the short story in 1910 while sitting in Pete’s Tavern in New York City; Nikolajevs’ production insists that it was the chamber orchestra playing in the tavern that inspired it. The narrative is peppered with scenes from the tavern, where a chamber orchestra will perform live. “We wanted to keep the music and acting at the equal level of respect and attention,” Nikolajevs says. “I think the story really touches people, but then the novelty of having live musicians playing classical music is really unique in productions like this.”

Abigail Darlington

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