Eugene actor David Stuart Bull has been performing Dylan Thomas’ timeless story A Child’s Christmas in Wales for so long, people have forgotten exactly how long it’s been.
Ib Hamide, owner of Café Soriah where Bull performs the piece, says 27 or 28 years. Bull says it’s been more than 30. “This will be, by my count, the 31st year,” Bull claims.
What’s not debatable is that his annual performance of the piece is a local tradition.
Bull is an Englishman by birth. “My earliest memories of Christmas are very much like the story,” he says. “When I first read the story it was such a nice surprise to rediscover someone who had captured the sense of Christmas that I remember growing up.”
His performance is accompanied by Celtic music from local musicians Chico Schwall and Linda Danielson.
“The show starts out with half an hour of Celtic music,” Hamide explains, “then David comes on after that.” Hamide says that before the reading Soriah will serve appetizers, drinks and dessert.
“A lot of people come back year after year,” Bull says. “It’s a very small venue. It gets filled up very quickly.”
Over the years, Bull has come to know A Child’s Christmas in Wales intimately. Nevertheless, he says his relationship to the text is always changing.
“It’s such a well-written story,” Bull says, “and I bring so much of my own experience of Christmas into the performance that just about every time I do it, it’s a sense of the first time.
“Different things resonate with me from year to year,” he continues. “Along with the musical atmosphere, it’s really quite exciting for me to still do it after all this time.”
A Child’s Christmas in Wales plays at 3 pm Dec. 11-12 and Dec. 18-19 as well as at 9:30 pm Dec. 21-24 at Café Soriah, 384 W. 13th Ave.; $10. Call 342-4410 for reservations. Space is limited.