Farmington Players brings back live shows with ‘Shack’

With COVID-19 precautions in place, The Farmington Players bring back live theater November 19, with the hilarious comedy, “A Hunting Shack Christmas”, written by Jessica Lind Peterson.

On stage through December 4 in the iconic Players Barn, the show follows suburban couple, Charlie and Jennifer, who are nearing their 10th anniversary. When Charlie decides to escape alone to the family’s beloved hunting shack just a few days before Christmas, he finds squatters on his property.

Hunting Shack Christmas Farmington Players
Rachel Biber and Bob Hotchkiss (Paul Manoian Photography)

Bring on a snowstorm that traps them all in close quarters, and you have the ingredients for a wonderful Christmastime comedy.

“It’s an ideal vehicle to escape the heaviness of the past 19 months for a couple hours and come back with a warm feeling and a smile,” said Bloomfield Hills resident Bob Hotchkiss, who plays Charlie.

Farmington resident Jason Wilhoite directs the show.

“Having a script in hand, debating plot points, and developing the charming characters found in A Hunting Shack Christmas has provided a normalcy I’ve missed deeply,” he said.

Hunting Shack Christmas Farmington Players Barn
From left: Nick Sczcerba, Maureen Mansfield, and Dave Reinke. (Paul Manoian Photography)

While the “up north” of this play takes place in Minnesota, the rustic setting will seem quite familiar to anyone who’s ever visited Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In fact, the story has been compared to Jeff Daniels’ famous comedy “Escanaba In Da Moonlight.”

Much like Escanaba, A Hunting Shack Christmas certainly sports its share of quirky characters. Dave Reinke of Novi puts a funny spin on his character (Ham), Charlie’s cousin who runs an illegal venison jerky business.

Maureen Mansfield of Farmington Hills plays Ham’s mother, June, who is not afraid to speak her mind. She repeatedly toots a “duck call” whenever she hears curse words uttered by Big Paul, played by Nick Szczerba of Trenton.

Hunting Shack Christmas Farmington Players Barn
From left going down stairs: Maureen Mansfield, Nick Szczerba, Bob Hotchkiss, Rachel Biber, and Dave Reinke. (Paul Manoian Photography)

“Just as the characters in the play gather at The Hunting Shack for recreational activities but come to realize it’s the joy of being together that brings them true happiness, so too do we actors gather together at this theater again to do things we love with people we love,” Szczerba said.

Assistant Director Amy Poirier of Farmington Hills said a “shared history” creates those strong bonds. “We are most at home with our family, even if that home is a hunting shack in the middle of nowhere.”

If you go

Tickets for this show are $22, $20 for students and those 62 and older. If you bring a group of 10 or more, tickets are $18.

Masks are required for everyone, and the theater will offer free disposable masks. Audiences will be encouraged to enter the theater early rather than crowding in the lobby. Cast and crew are fully vaccinated.

Tickets are available now at farmingtonplayers.org or at the box office, 248-553-2955. You can also write to boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org. Find the Farmington Players Barn Theater at 32332 W. 12 Mile Rd. in Farmington Hills.

Reported by