The sparkliest season is all about comfy sweaters and warm oatmeal cookies and hot toddies and holding hands and togetherness all the time let's hug I love you wheeee!, right?
Ummm. Maybe not so much, if you consider one of our oft-told holiday tales, "A Christmas Carol." Yep, the Dickens-delightful tale does end in holly and turkeys and God-Bless-Us-Every-One-ing, it's true, but it is a yarn with far more vinegar in its veins than egg nog or cocoa.
The Center Theatre Group and Second City not only get this, they celebrate the story's flavorful sourness each December at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The production is dubbed "Twist Your Dickens!" -- ahem -- and a spritely highlight? When the misdeeds of audience members are read aloud by actors on stage.
The misdeeds are filled out, anonymously, in the lobby before the show, on strips of Christmas paper (picture the kind that make a paper chain to go on the tree). Later, during the show, we learn about a few of our co-audience members and the time they broke a friend's bike but didn't own up.
Judging judginess and eyebrow raising from the actors then ensues, followed by much laughter from the house.
Now Center Theatre Group is taking the merry misdeedery -- something Ebenezer Scrooge knew much about -- wider. There's a Sin to Win contest afoot, and it goes like this: Share your favorite misdeed for a chance at a "holiday prize pack" that includes a pair of tickets to the show and gift certificates to Ugo in Culver City, so you can food up before curtain time.
Oh, and you get a couple of Tiny Timtinis and Scrooge Drivers to sip, pre-show, in the lobby.
So, is this a challenge for you? To summon a long dormant misdeed, smack in the middle of the let's-all-huggiest season of the year? Consider that this is one of the messages that Charles Dickens wanted to impart: Make peace with your past and move forward in a merry and generous spirit.
Owning up to a misdeed could be a fresh start and nab you a couple of tickets to a funny show, too. No humbugs here, nope nope.
The Second City's "A Christmas Carol -- Twist Your Dickens!" runs through Sunday, Dec. 29.