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No Place Like Home for the Holidays: a Spirited Linkville Playhouse Production

Natalie Miller

Dec 23, 2023

This November, a festive play floats to the stage of the Linkville Playhouse. This small but mighty theater, known for its immersive year-round community productions, welcomes Kevin Coleman back as writer and director of No Place Like Home for the Holidays. After his first ever play, “In the Beginning” in 2021, Coleman returns with a play that hits close to home - a comedic but tender take on the classic American family at their Thanksgiving dinner. That is, if you call ghosts at Thanksgiving “classic”. 

Yes, this play features the specters of the family’s deceased aunt and uncles- I swear it’s a comedy! The theme of grief in this story helps the audience connect to the family, because in reality, unless you’re one of the special few who knows where the fountain of youth is, it’s a safe bet that you’ll experience loss at some point in your life. Whether grandmother or guinea pig, death is devastating and hard to move past, so it is crucial to find people who support you through the healing process. This is the message that Coleman conveys; he does so with the talent of Klamath Falls’s fantastic volunteer actors and actresses. 

Community Effort

The Linkville Playhouse has been a part of Klamath Falls for over fifty years and is the 

oldest theater group in the Klamath Basin. It is because of the theater’s solid foundation in the community that both the Linkville players and its patrons have returned time and time again for each new season.

Klamath Union High School is no stranger to the playhouse. The theater welcomes many students of KU, Aiden Coe (class of 2023) as well as Tegan and Brian Green, to name a few. Even teachers like Mr. Chenjeri participate in the action. In productions such as A Cryptid Christmas and The Pillowman, you can find one of KU’s Spanish teachers, Mr. McCleve. McCleve, known by his students for his inclusive and personable teaching style, “keeping it real”, and (initially) for his intimidating character, is a part of yet another Linkville production as Harry, the middle child ghost. 

In discussion with McCleve and Brian Green, who plays Junior, the two 

expressed a deep appreciation for the supportive culture that the theater fosters, and explained how the “all-star cast of people'' being so familiar with one another brings the play to life, “Everyone being that relaxed and close with each other definitely makes it feel like an actual family laughing together, grieving together, et cetera,” says Brian. 

Tragedy in a Comedy

This play follows an endearing family’s Thanksgiving: making sure the turkey makes it to the table and the usual family squabbles, influenced, of course, by the ghost siblings’ increasingly disruptive antics. The young-disappointment-stoner son of the household, Junior, comes downstairs to let guests in and realizes he can see the ghosts! The earlier parts of the story are rather playful, and the audience can enjoy the dynamics between the ghosts and their shenanigans with Junior. Eventually, there is a tone shift when Stacy, daughter of the youngest deceased sibling, is filled with emotion and separates herself from the dinner to recuperate on the porch.

 It’s hard sitting down at the dinner table when there are fewer plates there than last year. The playwright knew that when he wrote this play, as some of the ghosts are based off his late aunt and second cousin. Coleman says that he thinks his play is “ultimately about healing and not taking family for granted.” He does a great job demonstrating this in Act Two when Junior finds Stacy out on the porch. After a heart-to-heart between the two, Jr. discovers that Stacy has been dealing with something deeper from losing her father - she regrets not having visited him on the day of his accident. This scene is very true to life. Oftentimes survivors blame themselves for not having done more or not having prevented the death. I didn’t treat them right, people think. I wish we had more time, I wish I were kinder in my last words to them. Whatever the cause of death, people struggle with finding light in the darkness. In this play, Stacy is able to find some amount of relief or healing when she speaks to Junior about her struggles. 

When Stacy returned to dinner, Junior asked his mother about her siblings, and she happily recounted jokes that Bill used to tell and games that Gertrude and Harry played with each other as children; in that scene, the audience can tell how much the family values each other, and how much they care for each other, in both life and death. Together, the family healed a little bit with the support they found from each other. 

If you’re reading this and have experienced loss, I hope that you find people who care enough to join you in your journey of healing. Whether family or friends, biological or not, find the time to enjoy the “now” that you have with them. And if there is no “now,” think of your time spent remembering them as a celebration of life.

Audition for upcoming shows at the Linkville Playhouse (201 Main Street). Little Shop of Horrors is coming up soon!

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