Playing 33 characters in one show is tough enough. But Pete Law’s demanding director in “This Wonderful Life” makes things all more the challenging in the newfangled holiday dinner production opening Friday at Willow Leaves of Hope.
“It’s me,” said Law with a laugh. “This is all me. And I’m pretty rough when I direct myself. Because in any one-person show, there is so much resting on only you.”
The 42-year-old Hope native launches his third solo show, this one based on the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life” — via the Actors Studio of Hope. For the past two years, Law presented the comedy “A Christmas Carol — the Radio Play” portraying each of the 18 characters. And he presented his self-penned “The Laws of Jackson Street” early this year about his childhood in Hope.
Clearly, his class on one-person presentations at Chicago’s The Second City training made a deep impression on him.
Plus, given that he has been involved with three local shows in recent months, it would have been nearly impossible for him to recruit a full cast in time for a holiday presentation. So, every time a bell rings, or anything else happens on stage, for that matter, Law will be spreading his wings as an actor.
“I love the idea of playing multiple characters,” Law said. “And ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is one of my favorite movies for so many different reasons.”
Clearly, versatility is as important in this show as George Bailey’s sincerity and righteous ways.
“I have to think a lot about my voice and my body posture,” Law said.
To say nothing of moving kinetically on stage to represent each character. Yet, he hopes people can slow their holidays enough to catch the show — and its message.
“This time of year, I know that people often are so busy,” Law said. “But ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is so embedded within our sense of Christmas. And within that, there’s the whole idea that everybody is so important.”
He knows that George Bailey learned that in the film. And, in continued adaptations of that story, the miracle of everyday angels continues to flutter amid the kindness of the holiday spirit.
What: Actors Studio of Hope dinner theater presentation of the one-person show, “This Wonderful Life,” starring Hope native Pete Law
When: 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Dec. 15 and 16; 1 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 17.
Where: Willow Leaves of Hope, 326 Jackson St., on the historic Hope Town Square.
Tickets: $25 for dinner and the show.