Annie Morrison’s “Seasons Greetings from Us Druids” offers a witty, literary alternative to standard holiday fare.
“Seasons Greetings from us Druids and Other X-mas Musings” is the brainchild of Annie Morrison—the actor, dancer, storyteller, singer, writer, the artistic director of SaraSolo productions, and a Broadway veteran.
Impressive resume, but it doesn’t capture her personality. The best way to put it? Annie is sprightly and alive. And she’s always on. Not everyone can say that. But when I ambushed her with a digital recorder at The Reserve the other day to ask about her holiday happenings, she was ready to go.
Annie, you’re on …
What was the origin of “Seasons Greetings?”
Well, for the past few years, I’ve been part of a Christmas show revolving around Charles Dickens at the Powel Crosley Estate. They’re not doing that this year — and that’s fine with me, because I’m all Dickens-ed out. So I asked myself what else could I do? There are plenty of interesting things out there. I put a bunch of them together and made a new show.
How did the Druids get into the act?
First of all, I am a Druid. Specifically, a Druid American priestess.
You mean “Druid American princess.”
Priestess, princess. Works either way. Want a sample of Druid stand-up?
OK! So, a Catholic priest, a rabbi, a Tibetan monk and a Druid walk into a bar.
What’s the punch line?
Come on. That’s funny enough right there. (laughs) Now you can see why there’s so little Druid stand-up. Are you still curious about the Druidic inspiration for my show?
Well … Once upon a time, the Center for Positive Living asked me to do a “Druid Christmas Song” for their living Christmas extravaganza. I got a good laugh, because the Druids didn’t have any Christmas songs! That inspired me to write one — and I’ll be singing that with my good friend John Shirley accompanying me on piano.
For a night of Druid hits!
Oh, it will be. And I’ll also sing Harry Nilsson’s lovely “Remember (Christmas),” which has nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever.
I think he wrote that for a vampire movie …
Yes, he did. I also intersperse the show with odd little specialty numbers from various winter holidays. But singing is only part of it. Because The Reserve is a bookstore, I’ll be doing a lot of reading. Not the typical holiday hokum, but selections of literature. There’ll be some satire by Mark Twain, one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s delightful letters, a very funny poem by Lewis Carol, and a delightful story by Robert Fulghum.
Robert … The guy who learned all he needed know in kindergarten? And wrote a best-seller about it?
Well, he learned a thing or two since then. (laughs) The piece is from the 25th-year anniversary edition of his book. It’s a precious little story. It’s Christmas time. He gets a knock on the door. There’s a kid with a mask saying, “Trick or treat.”
Give that kid a calendar!
Or some candy. (laughs) I also do an ancient, winter Solstice story about the Holly King and the Oak King — a beautiful Celtic tale about the dark part of the year giving way to the light. And I tell a very sweet, personal story about the time I was going through one of my books and found a treasure trove of Christmas cards and realized that they were my mother’s.
Wow. Aside from you, are all the writers either dead or on the New York Times best-seller list?
No! I’ll also be doing a poem by my friend and fellow Druid David A. Coyle. He’s a bard in the truest sense, and he’s written a wonderful, witty character study called “The Phoenix Chronicles.” I’m encouraging him to expand it to a full-length theater piece.
Sounds like a great show. Final question. What the heck is wassail?
Hot mulled cider. During the Middle Ages, people in England would go wassailing this time of year.
Ah. And you can’t go wassailing without wassail.