The mid-18th century in the Scottish Highlands has long benefited from the romantic visions of artists and novelists. The rebellious Jacobites and their leader, the exiled Bonnie Prince Charlie, dared greatly and suffered dearly, and the legend of their wild Highlands rebellion lives on in myriad popular forms, from the various clan’s tartan plaids to the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve, a tradition that originated as part of the distinctively Scots holiday known as Hogmanay. The scholarly performers behind Santa Barbara Revels’ The Christmas Revels always do their homework, so you can expect that when they bring this season’s Scottish version of their annual show to the Lobero, the details of these folkways will be observed and cherished. Set at the height of the tension between the Highlanders and their British colonizers, Revels will show a whole community gathering at the mansion of the Laird (Rich Hoag) and resolving their differences through song, story, and celebration.
Revels is part of a network that includes dozens of such celebrations throughout North America. The organization’s aim is to inspire seasonal goodwill through performances that reflect the communal and historical centrality of winter solstice celebrations from around the world and across the centuries. Each year the group picks a specific time and place in which winter holiday traditions are particularly strong and develops an elaborate program around historically accurate songs, dances, sing-alongs, and playlets. Director Susan Keller has a great eye for talent and knows how to weave a whole evening around such star turns as that of Emma Schiff, an Agoura native who also happens to be a Junior World Champion Highland Dancer.
The S.B. Revels perform Friday, December 16, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 17, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, December 18, 2:30 p.m., at the Lobero Theatre (33. E. Canon Perdido St.). Call (805) 963-0761 or visit lobero.com for tickets and information.