A Very Reckless Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching and decorations going up around Waco, Silent House Theatre Company is making preparations for its own holiday show.

From December 3–5 and 10–12, Silent House presents Reckless, an intentionally non-traditional Christmas story.

A Christmas Show for the Rest of Us

Straying from the saccharine cheer and forced joy that normally accompanies the holiday season, Silent House’s new production is a black comedy. Sure to keep audiences on their toes, it stays true to its name: Reckless. The play, written by Craig Lucas, explores the darker side of the holidays, focusing on the idea that not all Christmas celebrations are picture-perfect.

“It’s a Christmas show for the rest of us, is what our director Luann Jennings always says,” said Bradyn Braziel, co-owner of Silent House. “Because you know all the Christmas movies are so perfect. This is for all the messed up people out there.”

The story is set in the 1980s and is filled with different twists, turns, and surprises. The action-packed plot begins on Christmas Eve when Rachel, the main character, learns that her husband has hired a hitman to kill her … even though now he’s having second thoughts about it. Still, she flees into a dark, snowy night that marks the beginning of a bizarre chain of events.

Elaine Sury, who plays Rachel, is the show’s star, as her character never leaves the stage. Despite the differences between her and Rachel, she can relate to the character.

“She’s very similar to me with her verbal processing. She’s just talking a mile a minute and kind of doesn’t let anything emotionally settle,” said Sury. “It’s like the Odyssey except she’s not really a hero. I would consider her more of an antihero. Sometimes, the director even thinks she might be the villain. But there’s no one true villain in this story.”

The ten-member cast, consisting of local teachers, students, and even a future lawyer, is larger than Silent House’s previous production I and You, which had only two roles.

The Unsettling Experience

The shows chosen by Silent House aim to provide a unique experience for viewers through unconventional plots and emotionally honest performances. Instead of audience members thinking about what they’ll eat after a play, Braziel wants them to be unable to quit thinking about the production they just saw.

Reckless is the company’s chance to bring that unsettling experience to the holiday season.

Sury added: “I just want the audience to feel things that they haven’t felt before at a Christmas show. Sometimes Christmas is a painful time for people. I think Christmas is always painted as a joyful season, but I think there’s a lot of gratitude to be found regardless of your situation.”

A Smashing Start

Silent House’s inaugural production, I and You, was a “smashing success,” according to Braziel. “People loved it. Everybody that came to see the show enjoyed it. But I would say the biggest thing besides ticket sales is that in addition to people we knew who came to see the show, we also had people that we didn’t know come to support us.”

Silent House is also focusing on reaching the deaf community. Braziel said, “We always have our interpreters at shows for our deaf audience. We teach deaf acting lessons. We want to incorporate the deaf into what we’re doing.”

Alex Blanton is the in-house interpreter, who has helped establish more ways to incorporate sign language into performances. And, as it happens, Reckless has a deaf character.

Mission Waco Jubilee Theatre is the current home for Silent House Theatre productions.

Tickets are now available for Reckless, with performances from December 3–5 and 10–12 at the Mission Waco Jubilee Theatre.

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Alyssa Erchinger was an intern at Waco Insider in the fall of 2021 and is a 2022 graduate of Baylor University's Professional Writing and Rhetoric program.

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