A young boy, bootleg fruitcake and the abiding love of an eccentric old cousin are the ingredients of "Holiday Memories," opening Thursday, Nov. 29, at Oregon Stage Works, 191 A St., Ashland.




Set in Depression-era Alabama, "Holiday Memories" is Russell Vandenbroucke's adaptation of two stories by Truman Capote; "The Thanksgiving Visitor" and "A Christmas Memory." Both stories have at their heart the friendship of 7-year-old Buddy and 60-something Sook, the cousin he's sent to after his parents' divorce.




"As long as you remember me, we'll always be together," Sook tells young Buddy.




"Holiday Memories" is the grown-up narrator's attempt to make the world he was happy in live again, with Capote's stories related by the grown-up Truman looking back on his childhood with relish and a bit of regret. Truman shares the telling with young Buddy and Sook.




The play is considered a family classic, director Bruce Wallace Hostetler says in a press release.




"The stories are so funny," Hostetler says. "Both for kids and adults, they're well-told and really enjoyable. And as the narrator looks back, he captures the wonder of childhood so well."




Yet, Hostetler adds, the play has a fullness much family fare lacks. It has depth and shadows and "all the things that make life three-dimensional, that make love so important, that make life real."




The cast features OSW veteran Sam King, who's been seen in "Durang, Durang," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "On Golden Pond" and "The Wild Guys." King's film and TV credits include "Fingerlakes" and "Murphy Brown."




He'll be joined by Alexander Barnes, who last played at OSW in "Scroogical." Barnes' three seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival included appearances in "On the Razzle," "The Winter's Tale," "Two Gentlemen of Verona" and "Oedipus Complex."




Also appearing will be Diana Girvin, formerly with the Sonoma Company Repertory Theatre. Girvin appeared in OSW's "The Elephant Man" and Ashland Children's Theatre's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Joining the cast will be Joe Caron, last seen in "The Elephant Man," and Meesha Blair.




Hostetler first saw "Holiday Memories" while working at Indiana Repertory Theatre and loved it. But now that he's worked with his present cast, he says, he can't imagine anyone else in the roles.




Director Bruce Wallace Hostetler holds an M.F.A. in Directing from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and has directed opera, musicals, and theater productions from New York to Santa Cruz, including numerous world premieres. Recent credits include productions for Sun Valley Shakespeare Festival, OSF and the OSF Daedalus Project, works in the Rogue Opera's acclaimed series of children's touring shows and OSW's "On Golden Pond."




Tyler Malovoz serves as the show's stage manager and lighting technician. Lighting design is by Phil Shaw.




"Holiday Memories" will play at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 31.




Beasy's on the Creek restaurant will join OSW in offering a package of dinner and an opening-night ticket for $36 a person Thursday, Nov. 29. Reservations for the package can be made through Beasy's, 488-5009, or the OSW box office.




The theater will offer special $15 tickets for seniors 65 and over at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, and 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6.




Call 482-2334.