Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker! pulls audience members into the author's 19th century world 

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If you’ve ever wanted to teach Jane Austen characters a thing or two about the modern world, this is your chance.

Reduxion Theatre Company invites you to experience high-society charm and elegance with interactive production Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker!

“Jane Austen is having a party, and she’s inviting characters from three of her novels,” play director Tonia Sina recently told Oklahoma Gazette. “It’s an interactive performance where the audience is invited to partake in festivities. Even if the audience isn’t familiar with these novels, it’s a really fun time.”

Reduxion specializes in classic works with a twist, creating original experiences for theater fanatics and casual spectators alike. An original production, Christmas Cracker! first emerged onstage last year.

Erin Woods, one of Reduxion’s founders, created it with Austen fans in mind.

Sina said the production was an immediate hit.

It’s difficult not to be engaged at Jane Austen’s Regency ball. The characters never leave the stage.

“The setting remains inside the Regency ball the entire play,” Sina said. “Even the musicians never exit the stage. In a way, it will seem like we’ve actually transported you back in time.”

Christmas Cracker!’s cast has trained rigorously with ballroom dancers and a professional clowning theater coach to further their late 18th century legitimacy. Sina said all this rehearsal will culminate in original interactions with the audience.

“Cast members will teach volunteers from the audience dance numbers and games from the period,” she said. “Everyone is invited to the party.”

Of course, audience participation is voluntary. However, Sina said there are other ways to pretend you’re part of 18th century high society and guests are invited to dress in Regency clothing.

True to Austen’s romantic comedy oeuvre, the play features a rollercoaster of themes and emotions. Lead characters from Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion all participate in the author’s ball.

“There’s singing, dancing and Christmas carols, but there is also dramatic dialogue between characters,” Sina said. “Characters that have interactions are almost pulled directly from the novels, so fans will appreciate that familiar element shown in a different light.”

Austen novices won’t feel left out.

“It’s a very family-friendly performance,” Sina said. “Even if you aren’t familiar with Austen, it’s a generally exciting theatrical experience, and the Christmas theme creates a universally appealing mood.”

No character gets the spotlight in this play; however, one group in particular does take precedence.

“Ten women and four men make up the cast,” Sina said. “There are still not as many opportunities for women in performing arts as there should be, and this a way I can change that fact.”

Beyond her cast, Sina also includes female audiences in her mission.

“We’re holding a contest this year called Leading Ladies,” Sina said. “People can nominate women in the community who they believe stand out and represent feminist leadership. We’ll honor the winner with two tickets to the show.”

Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker! runs 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and Dec. 15-17 and 2 p.m. Sunday in Joel Levine Rehearsal Hall at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. Tickets are $15-$35. Visit reduxiontheatre.com.

Print headline: Leading ladies, Reduxion Theatre Company takes audiences to Regency England with Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker!

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Jessica Williams

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