The cozy space of the Downstage Theatre becomes a 1920s family room for Stone Soup’s production of A Child’s Christmas in Wales, a one-act play adapted from a poem by Dylan Thomas, the passionate Welsh writer who died at the young age of 39.
The play unfolds as a series of flashbacks about a Christmas past narrated by Older Dylan, an embodiment of the poet Thomas himself (played by Tom Stewart). Stewart’s nostalgic monologues fall somewhere between playful reminiscences of old family and friends and deeper longings for simpler times: As the scenes play out, we see children dash outside to clown around instead of staying in to play video games. Family members happily tell stories to one another instead of collapsing in front of the TV after dinner. The mailman knows each household on his route by name, and the town fireman cozies up in the Thomas parlor for a Christmas-night drink.
Third grader Sophia Schloss is very impressive in the hefty role of Young Dylan. She does not miss a beat. In fact, the enthusiasm of each of the young actors (Stuart Kuehne, Daphne Matter, Halina Scott-Smith and Guthrie Sutton), who play Young Dylan’s cousins and friends, is infectious. The scenery is simple but clever, and live Christmas carols provide cheer and warmth. Literature buffs may make note of the loving relationship between Young Dylan and his father, D.J. Dylan Thomas wrote what would become his most famous poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night” (“Rage, rage against the dying of the light”) while watching his father grow frail from old age. During the play, however, the elder Thomas (played by Rhys Henley) is in his prime.
A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Adapted from the poem by Dylan Thomas. Directed by Arlene Martinez-Vazquez. Stone Soup Theatre in the DownStage, 4029 Stone Way N., Seattle. December 8-24. Tickets and information at www.stonesouptheatre.org, 206-633-1883, or www.brownpapertickets.com, 800-838-3006. $16-18 general admission.