Last weekend to see 'Amahl and the Night Visitors'

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:10

Sussex, N.J. — Cornerstone Playhouse’s production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” is performing its final performances this Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Epiphany weekend. Shows will be held at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6, and Saturday, Jan. 7, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8. Here are some comments by theatergoers who saw the December performances of this Christmas story. Debbie Nannery of Newton, N.J., a local performer herself: “I had tears in my eyes and laughed out loud (if you can believe that) at those funny kings. I mean this from the bottom of my heart...I absolutely loved it! The show could not have been cast any better." Sue Pierson of Hampton, N.J.: “Last night I saw my first opera. It was wonderful! The singing, staging, costumes and the story message really put me in the holiday spirit. It was a story that audiences of all ages would enjoy and appreciate." About the show “Amahl and the Night Visitors” is a one-act opera by Gian Carlo Menotti that has become a holiday event since its first performance in 1951. Running less than an hour in length, Amahl is an easy way to introduce children to the world of opera. The story of Amahl is about a poor shepherd family and the visit of the three kings to see the Christ child. Amahl, a disabled boy who can walk only with a crutch, has a problem with telling tall tales and, occasionally, lying. One night, there is a knock at the door and the mother tells Amahl to go see who it is. He is amazed when he sees three splendidly dressed kings (the Magi). They tell the mother and Amahl they are on a long journey to give gifts to a wondrous child and they would like to rest at their house, to which the mother agrees. King Balthazar answers Amahl's questions about his life as a king and asks what he does. Amahl responds that he was once a shepherd, but his mother had to sell his sheep. Now, he and his mother will have to go begging. Amahl then talks with King Kaspar, who is childlike, eccentric and a bit deaf. Kaspar shows Amahl his box of magic stones, beads and licorice, and offers Amahl some of the candy. Amahl is told to go fetch the neighbors so the kings may be fed and entertained properly. After the neighbors have left and the kings are resting, the mother attempts to steal for her son some of the kings' gold that was meant for the Christ child. She is thwarted by the kings' page. When Amahl wakes to find the page grabbing his mother, he attacks him. Seeing Amahl's weak defense of his mother and understanding the motives for the attempted theft, King Melchior says she may keep the gold as the Holy Child will not need earthly power or wealth to build his kingdom. The mother says she has waited all her life for such a king and asks the kings to take back the gold. She wishes to send a gift but has nothing to send. Amahl, too, has nothing to give the Child except his crutch. When he offers it to the kings, his leg is miraculously healed. He leaves with the kings to see the child and give his crutch in thanks for being healed.