Mask & Mirror launches second season with twist on A Christmas Carol

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Mask & Mirror Community Theatre, opens its second season with a new comedy about a theater troupe trying to perform Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, Nov. 2.It may be the day after Halloween, but folks at Tigard and Tualatin’s community theater are already getting into the Christmas spirit.

Mask & Mirror Community Theatre is launching the first production of its second season Friday with a performance of “A Christmas Carol.”

Well, sort of. Describing the production of Mark Landon Smith’s “A Dickens Christmas Carol: A Traveling Travesty in Two Tumultuous Acts” takes a bit of explanation.

Check it out!

What: “A Dickens Christmas Carol: A Traveling Travesty in Two Tumultuous Acts”

Who: Mask & Mirror Community Theatre

Where: Calvin Presbyterian Church, 10445 S.W. Canterbury Lane, in Tigard

When: Friday-Sunday, Nov. 2-18. Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinee 2 p.m.

How much: Adults $12; senior, students, military $10; children 9 and younger $5.

For more information, visit or call 503-691-1779.

“A really bad acting troupe that thinks they’re amazing puts on a really bad production of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ which they think is amazing,” said Lalanya Gunn, who plays several roles in the production.

When the star of a traveling theater refuses to go on stage, the troupe carries on without her, said the show’s director Sandy Libonati. But when the diva rushes onstage to reclaim her role halfway through the performance, the troupe scrambles to keep the show going while everything falls to pieces.

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Sarah Ominski and Gary Romans rehearse in preperation for Friday's opening of 'A Dickens Christmas Carol: A Traveling Travesty in Two Tumultuous Acts.' “Everything that can go wrong, goes wrong,” said Sarah Ominski, an actress in the show.

Putting the finishing touches on the production, the cast and crew have been hard at work with evening rehearsals stretching deep into the night, Libonati said.

“It looks innocent enough when you look at it, but if you are familiar at all with how things play out, there is a ton of stage instruction,” Libonati said. “You know it is going to be a high-maintenance production.”

But Libonati, who spends her days as a school secretary in the Beaverton School District, wouldn’t have it any other way, saying, “It’s totally my kind of humor. I read the first two or three pages and put it down and said, ‘I would love to do this one.’”

Libonati and her husband Glen are Mask & Mirror veterans, having written and directed last year’s “Robin Hood: The Musical,” as well as a few smaller productions in the Beaverton School District.

“If I could make money at it, I would totally just do this,” she said. “This is something that reaches deeper than a job can ever do.

“I can be exhausted after work and then come to rehearsal and stay up until 11 p.m., and I am just buzzing. It gets the adrenaline going.”

Washington County’s newest community theater company wrapped up its inaugural season in May with money in the bank and plans for expanding into its second season.

A traveling troupe is being put together to tour area schools and community events to spread the word about Mask & Mirror, and the theater is actively looking for a permanent home in Tigard or Tualatin to call its own.

That has been the hardest part about the production — finding a place to rehearse, Libonati said.

Mask & Mirror will premiere “Christmas Carol” at Calvin Presbyterian Church. Due to scheduling conflicts, the cast and crew were only able to get into the building for rehearsal last week.

“This is the closest to coming down to the wire we’ve had, but this cast has a heart of gold, and they’ll be fine no matter what happens,” she said.

If that means a few late nights, Libonati said it’s worth it. “This show truly takes the whole crew. The crew is truly part of the cast and I could not be more impressed with all of them.”

In its inaugural season, Mask & Mirror sold about 600 tickets to its three productions. President and co-founder Gary Romans said he hopes those numbers grow this year.

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