The Long Christmas Ride Home” isn’t a play about the Chris­tian hol­iday. Rather, it tells a story about how a few events can affect someone’s entire life, for good and ill.

Paula Vogel, the play­wright, would rather the play not be per­formed any month near Christmas,” said director Nancy Kindelan, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of the­atre in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design. “It deals with issues we asso­ciate with Christmas — such as love and family — which really should not be con­fined to the 25th of December.”

The play tells a Western story through an Eastern lens, relying on tech­niques from Japanese Noh and Bun­raku the­atre to propel the nar­ra­tive. College-​​age actors play both young– and middle-​​aged adults and custom-​​made pup­pets por­tray sev­eral characters.

A big dif­fer­ence of per­forming through a puppet is that every­thing I would nor­mally convey with my entire body I have to convey through a three-​​foot-​​tall puppet ver­sion of myself,” said freshman the­atre major John Crittenden.

The story, which focuses in part on a family on the verge of col­lapse, exam­ines how tra­di­tions can evolve and change. Its plot is based on the mem­o­ries of a char­acter named Stephen, who resem­bles Vogel’s real-​​life brother.

It’s a play about change,” said third-​​year the­atre major Danny Belford. “All the kids change, but the par­ents stay the same. It’s about how they grow into them­selves and how their rela­tion­ships with their family shape who they are later in life.”

A live sound­track com­posed by music tech­nology senior Joanna Iwanowicz accom­pa­nies the per­for­mance. The music, she said, mixes sounds from a variety of eras and cultures.

I tried to merge all of these sounds together,” said, Iwanowicz, whose gear includes an elec­tronic key­board and tra­di­tional Asian instru­ments. “If the play calls for rock music, for example, I’ve come up with some­thing that tries to be rock music in a Japanese style.”

The Long Christmas Ride Home” runs from Tuesday through Sunday. Per­for­mances from Tuesday through Sat­urday will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday’s per­for­mance begins at 2 p.m. The play is appro­priate for mature audi­ences only. Seating is lim­ited and advance tickets are avail­able for pur­chase online at neu​.uni​ver​si​tyt​ickets​.com.