Stacey Bern has performed as an actress in plays and movies — and even worked as an extra in one of Burt Reynolds’ last movies called “Hamlet and Hutch.”
“I actually provided a costume for (Reynolds), which was pretty much a highlight of my life — a costume that I still own,” Bern said, laughing.
But a good bit of her experience has come in working for free in community theater.
She is the director of the Pumphouse Players’ production of “Closed for the Holidays,” which opens Friday, Dec. 6, and runs for eight shows over three weekends through Dec. 21 at the Legion Theatre in Cartersville.
This is the third play she has directed for the Cartersville-based community theater troupe.
The play is set in Valdosta, Georgia, and begins two days before Christmas amid a blizzard which shuts down all the roads.
According to a description on the Pumphouse Players website, it is a “spirited and heartwarming comedy with a healthy dash of Christmas magic.”
“A motley crew of travelers find themselves stranded at the local community center. From the lovelorn drama teacher with a bus full of students, to the quarrelsome couple on the way to their wedding, to the overeager sheriff ready for some real criminal action, everyone has their own troubles to untangle.
“But to have a happy holiday, they’re going to need a miracle — or seven, to be exact.”
Bern said “don’t ask me why, but it is” set in Valdosta, a south Georgia city near the Florida line which is not known for experiencing blizzards in the winter.
“I guess that’s the imagination part,” she said, laughing.
Bern said the play is similar to other Christmas-themed productions she has directed.
“It’s really feel-good, family-friendly type stuff — probably very similar to what the more traditional Christmas shows are,” she said.
“It’s just about learning to accept situations that you’re in, and knowing that there’s a lot of Christmas magic that can come around and brighten up people’s holiday seasons,” she said.
“It’s got moments of humor, it’s uplifting. There are a couple of moments that are maybe a little more serious when you hear about the backgrounds of the various characters. But overall it’s very positive, very uplifting.
“People want to believe in magic, want to believe in miracles … even believing in Santa. That’s all the underlying theme there throughout the whole show.
“It’s something that will make you laugh, you may get a little teary … but it’s definitely something that’s very light.”
Seven “miracles” must occur for the characters to have a happy holiday. However they are not the kind of miracles discussed in the Bible or which are “big and huge,” Bern said.
“They’re these little moments — the ‘I can’t believe that happened’ (moments) — that are throughout the whole show and really kind of makes you feel good and want to walk away with a smile.”
She said her experience with holiday-themed productions led to her directing the play for the theater troupe, which has no paid staff.
“We all do it for the love of theater,” Bern said.
The 20-person cast and crew have enjoyed working on the production, she said.
Cast members come from “all different backgrounds” and vary in ages between 13 and up.
“We laugh a lot,” she said. “I still watch it every single night they rehearse and I laugh because they add something different to it every single time.”
The Legion Theater is at 114 W. Main St. in downtown Cartersville.
Dates for “Closed for the Holidays” are Dec. 6 to 8, Dec. 13 to 15, and Dec. 20 and 21. Times are 8 p.m. for Friday and Saturday shows, and 3 p.m. for Sunday performances.
For more information and tickets, call 770-387-2610 or visit http://www.pumphouseplayers.com/closed-for-the-holidays.html.