One hundred of Washington's most literate merrymakers, from kindergarteners to senior citizens, want you to join them in a Celtic celebration of the winter solstice -- Christmas Revels -- at George Washington's Lisner Auditorium Friday through Sunday. The program, a costume ball of carols, dance, poetry and drama based on secular and sacred myths in the British Isles, will be sung mostly in modern English, though a few songs will be performed in Welsh.

"It's more like an opera than a play," says producer Mary Swope. "It unfolds sequentially without a specific story line."

The "Hogmanay Wassailers," a chorus, are the heart of the show and represent a Breughelesque village from a deliberately vague period of history. They're on stage most of the time, singing, dancing and carrying on.

Terry Winslow, a Washington lawyer in real life, evokes an early Father Christmas in a red brocade ankle-length robe with ermine trim and lining. Cooks, ladies, kitchen maids, firewood gatherers and other folk revel in tights, lace-up bodices, poet's blouses and petticoats.

Judith Harrison, music director of the program, says the revels are "laced with purpose" -- finding amid the year's longest night the evergreen symbol of hope.

"Our idea is universal," says Swope. "Dance and music are found all over the world, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere where we have a solstice. It answers a need in people, not religiously, but spiritually -- we are driving the dark away." For showtimes and ticket information, call 657-3285.

-- Gigi Anders