Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles present ‘O Christmas Tea’ at the Port Theatre on Nov. 21. (Photo supplied)

Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles present ‘O Christmas Tea’ at the Port Theatre on Nov. 21. (Photo supplied)

Christmas comedy production returns to Nanaimo after two-year absence

Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles present ‘O Christmas Tea’ at the Port Theatre

An annual Christmas comedy production that was sidelined due to the COVID-19 pandemic is making its return to the Port Theatre.

On Nov. 21 Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles, of the Sunshine Coast and Winnipeg, respectively, present O Christmas Tea, their long-running show about friends James and Jamesy navigating a world overrun by tea.

Knowles said it’s “quite emotional” to get to stage the production, as the duo haven’t been onstage together since March 2020. The inability to perform even left him questioning his purpose.

“It was this big pause and I had to reflect, like, ‘OK, what am I doing with my life now? Is theatre something that I want to continue doing…?’” he said.”And the longer I went without performing I started questioning, ‘Am I a good performer? Is this my calling or has this just been something that I’ve been doing?’”

Knowles said it wasn’t until he got dressed up for Halloween that he realized he missed performing. Malkin said getting back on stage brings him “so much joy” because he loves doing the shows and bringing people together.

Each year the duo add to the production. This time around they’ve incorporated a dance routine they saw on TikTok and Malkin said they recently purchased a bubble machine.

“In the show we have three different kinds of snow, we have two different kinds of fog, we have three different kinds of confetti and these are all because they have a very particular purpose…” Malkin said. “And every little addition is very exciting for us because, in a way, we’re kids who get to play with toys.”

Knowles said the COVID-19 pandemic has led him to view O Christmas Tea as a cathartic experience for him and the audience. He said people have lost a lot during the pandemic, and at the part in the story when James and Jamesy lose each other he’s able to channel those feelings.

“I hadn’t connected it to real life, that people experience real emotions in their daily life and sometimes they don’t have space to feel those emotions,” he said. “So if our show can do that, I think we’ve done a good thing.”

WHAT’S ON … O Christmas Tea comes to the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Adult tickets range from $39 to $44, student tickets range from $19 to $29. Available from the Port Theatre.

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