Holiday Memories at Theatre South 

Voices of the South is stepping away from the comic cabarets and improvised sing-along events of Christmas seasons past and getting back to the company's roots in literary adaptation and narrative performance. Holiday Memories collects a pair of richly described short stories recounting scenes from author Truman Capote's early life growing up in rural Alabama.

"The Thanksgiving Visitor" and "A Christmas Memory" chronicle the relationship between a young boy named Buddy and his elderly but childlike cousin Sook as they make whiskey-soaked fruitcakes, chop down secret Christmas trees, and fly their homemade kites. The Depression-era vignettes have been adapted for television twice and turned into a full-blown musical. Though no literal version of the mature author appears on stage, Russell Vanderbroucke's loving adaptation makes Capote the star and is well-suited for VOTS's signature style.

click to enlarge Truman Show
  • Truman Show

Most holiday shows truck in aphorisms and feel-good sentiment. "A Thanksgiving Memory" is about bullying and betrayal. The nostalgia of "A Christmas Memory" is spiked with strong, irreparable loss. Though often funny and loaded with rustic and seasonal imagery, these stories are considerably more substantial than your usual sugarplums.

Voices of the South's holiday offering also functions as an appetizer for Memphis theater fans, particularly those who love Capote. Mark Chambers — a local favorite who literally grew up on area stages — is coming home for a short engagement in Tru, a one man show about the celebrity author. Tru opens at the Evergreen Theatre January 10, 2019.

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