The holidays, for my money, are about tradition. STRIKING 12 feels even more special to me this year, because in its second year, it is becoming a part of my personal holiday tradition.
I think it’s interesting how, as adults, we start to create our own sense of ritual. From “Orphan Thanksgivings”, to accompanying a significant other to a holiday meal for the first time…we begin to break through the barriers of childhood and start to discover the traditions that are truly our own. Of course, the flips side is that we leave the safety of those light-filled, gift-laden, fuzzy around the edges memories and begin to understand the complexities of holiday emotions. We start to realize that Aunt Betty wasn’t really all that happy. Her boisterous laughter was mostly the product of one (or six) too many glasses of eggnog. We feel the sting of loneliness, the first time we can’t make it home for the holidays because of work or weather. And why does heartache seem to accompany this season? Breakups always seem worse when they happen around a holiday. More adult fun to look forward to, kids.
It’s no wonder my personal holiday punch bowl is filled with one part love, two parts cynicism, a dash of hope and several shots of rum. It’s the only way I can make it through. And, always, ALWAYS, there is a soundtrack playing in the background. Music is as much a part of the tradition as anything else. In my house, it was folk and rock and the great singer-songwriter music of the 70’s and 80’s. I will take Joni Mitchell, singing “River” over the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing, “Sleigh Ride” any day of the week.
STRIKING 12 is the perfect holiday show for me, because it is the culmination of all of the things that I embrace during this season. It’s a little depressed but a lot hopeful. And the depressing isn’t too depressed, and the hopeful isn’t too precious, because it’s so damn funny. It’s genuine and a little raw in its examination of a basic, personal, contemporary story. It also honors the tradition of great literature; but pulls out a story that is beautiful within pain and longing, ultimately ending in the understanding that love is warmth and comfort and peace. AND all of this is wrapped up in a package decorated with some of the best music you will ever hear, holiday or otherwise.
My hope is that you’ll see the show and that it fulfills both your childlike wonder and your adult longing. May Striking 12 worm its awesome little way into your heart, to become a part of your holiday tradition, as it has mine.-- Lara Filip is a well-know Chicago Singer, Actress and Director. Her next stage appearance will be in Legally Blonde at The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire and her band project, Birdie Wing, is in pre-production for its debut CD.