From left: Playwright Erin Macklem and Musical Director Brad L’Ecuyer

Belfry Shines A Little Light

Playwright Erin Macklem's This Little Light is an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Stick Girl

As we climbed the narrow winding staircase to see Erin Macklem’s nook where she created This Little Light, it’s hard not to notice the history on the walls. But what stands out the most, is her love of the Belfry Theatre.

“The Belfry is the best place to work,” she said with a beaming smile.

“Everyone that works here is so inspired by the work, loves theatre in general and loves the people that they work with.”

Macklem —  the Belfry’s artistic associate and outreach coordinator — has put 10 years of thought and two years of production into This Little Light, her musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen classic The Little Match Stick Girl.

The original story begins on New Years Eve with a young girl selling matches on the street trying keep her family alive. Failing to sell any matches, she fears going home. Instead, she takes shelter in an alley and sits down.

She burns her remaining matches to stay warm, and as she burns the last of her stock, she sees several visions, including a Christmas tree and a holiday feast. She sees a shooting star; then remembers her dead grandmother saying that a falling star means someone is dying.

As she lights the next match, she sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness.  After running out of matches, the child dies in the alley, and her grandmother carries her soul to heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the child dead, frozen with a smile on her face, and try to guess the reason for the burnt-out matches beside her.

“I know (The Little Match Girl) is the saddest Christmas story,” she explained. “I was exposed to the story when I was in elementary school. I cried, it was so sad, but I was kind of outraged at the same time. I felt like it was so sad and there was no redemption in the story.”

But Macklem rises above the darkness of the original and gives her character in This Little Light a chance to become new again, a process she found inspiring. With help from the Canadian College of Performing Arts, the George Jay Elementary Choir, Central Middle School Choir and Victoria High School Choir, Macklem brings a uniquely Fernwood feel to her musical.

Along with Musical Director Brad L’Ecuyer and Director Jane Johanson, Macklem has morphed the show into community-minded production aimed to appeal to all age groups.

Friends and family of the award-winning playwright and Fernwood resident might notice some parallels with some of Macklem’s characters, as she draws from inspirations from her relationships in the community.

“To me that’s what writing is. You are taking everything in, processing it and spitting it back out through your own life experiences,” she said.

This Little Light runs from Dec. 10 to 23 at the Belfry Theatre.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

World of electronic musical wonders await at long weekend festival

Wonderment ambient/downtempo music festival slips into bridge plaza, Banfield Park Aug. 3-4

Solid foundation key to Charles Porlier’s longevity as a TV/film makeup artist

Learn to KRE8 from experts in the world of makeup, voice acting, animation and more, Aug. 9-18

A passing of the torch for Victoria’s rock music history archives

Royal City Music Project co-founder Glenn Parfitt wants valuable cultural material preserved

MOVIE MONDAY: Get your food film fix and more this summer

Inspiring documentary Six Primrose shows tonight at 6:30, followed by food security discussion

Crash Test Dummies bring their musical storytelling to Sidney in August

25th anniversary of God Shuffled His Feet celebrated with two concerts at Mary Winspear Centre

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

Brentwood Bay brings $5 concerts every Wednesday evening

Variety of music on offer: picnics, good vibes and family friendly

Schitt’s Creek and its stars among Canadians with Emmy nominations

Co-creator Eugene Levy thought they had chance for one nomination, ‘then they kept rolling in’

Most Read