A Christmas Carol (Play production)

Posted: December 6, 2011 by Micah in Randomnicity
Tags: ,

Hey everyone, you know how some things sound like a great idea at the time but then as soon as you go back to do them you think to yourself “why did I agree to do that?” Well that doesn’t happen to me. I have no regrets! Life is a river, the door is ajar, the vortex is texting. Whatever. Bearing that in mind, here’s a review of Christmas Carol (a play I saw last night).

The play really started when I arrived at the play doors at6:30or so and stood around for a half hour waiting for the doors to open. During this time I played Monopoly on my Ipod with my girlfriend and tried not to catch pneumonia. Once we were let into the warm confines of the theater space we sat down soaked in the atmosphere, gloried in the meticulous details of the stage, and then promptly resumed our game of Monopoly.

Once the show actually started, though we did put the game away and I waited anxiously to be sucked into the world of “Charles Dickens: How the Grinch Stole Christmas” I mean “A Christmas Carol.”

I've always found it slightly confusing that the actual book features almost no actual Caroling... false advertising much Charles?

  The plot:

“Twas the night before Christmas,
and all through the house not a creature was stirring,
except for a Ghost!”

That is not at all how Christmas Carol starts! It actually starts with the voice of Fred (Scrooge’s nephew). Telling a story to his son about how Uncle Scrooge saved Christmas with his nose… I mean learned to keep Christmas all the year round… or something.

Anyway the traditional Christmas, Christmas Carol story is laid out in front of us live on stage. Scrooge is a mean guy; he gets visited by a ghost who tells him he’s going to be visited by more ghosts. Three ghosts to be precise: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego… I mean John, Paul, and Ringo… I mean Present, Past and Future. Anyway Washington, Adams, and Jefferson all of show Scrooge what a terrible person he is, and how Christmas is a spirit that’s inside us all, and what a creepy creepy toy tickle me Elmo is.

And in the end (spoiler alert) Scrooge himself, lives in a Yellow Submarine.

This now makes back to back posts in which I've referenced the Beatles... I have no idea why.

The positives:

I really like the whole framed Narrative thing. Having Fred (played brilliantly by Ben Toler) guide the audience through the story added a really cool personal touch to the whole thing that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

A very well acted play on the whole with a cast that seemed well engaged and (for the most part) didn’t show too many signs of this being the 6th or so performance they’ve done. Some great performances by Dave Bean, Phil Adams, Lindsay Morgan, John Cox, and the aforementioned Ben Toler really anchor things in and carry the cast but (most importantly) there weren’t really any specific weak links among them.

   The negatrons:

And here we go…

I really liked the music on the whole and thought the songs were well written and the music well performed but certain actors couldn’t compete with the live orchestra behind them. It’s more of a bi-product of the extremely limited space that they were working with than anything else but occasionally actors were drowned out by the swelling tide of the orchestra behind them. Like a delicate cricket trying to chirp out it’s song while being shouted down by Godzilla… or something.

Speaking of Godzilla, some of the stage building and set moving typed stuff got in the way of people who were talking. It’s always a difficult to decision to choose exactly how you’re going to handle long scene transitions (of which this play has several) but now and again it became incredibly difficult to hear what was going on because someone was creating an exact working replica of the Hubble Space Telescope just a few feet away from me.

The stage itself was at time incredibly distracting and creaky and… stuff. During one particular scene that was supposed to be all heartfelt and snugly the stage was screaming out in pain every time someone stepped on it. I don’t know whose idea it was to build the stage out of the living wood of Narnia but it was actually sort of a weird concept.

Other then that it was just some of the basic everyday flaws of live theater. Someone accidentally threw a cluster of grapes at me (no this seriously happened. Said grapes sat there for a couple scenes and were nearly crushed multiple times before some observant stagehand picked the up. I named them Billy, Billy the Grape-cluster and I wish him nothing but the best as he continues his career.) At the end of the play they start shooting snow out of the ceiling and as a byproduct of where me and my girlfriend were seated we almost choked to death on it. Also for some reason Scrooge’s robe (the one he wears for roughly 9/10th of the play) is cavernously large. I half expected R2-D2 to come rolling out from the back half of things. Or maybe that’s where he hides all his earnings or something… that’s it! Scrooge is such a miser that he actually carries all of his accumulated wealth in the hinder parts of his gown! Stamp it, wrap it, moving on!

   In Conclusion:

Christmas Carol is a play that invokes all the warm fuzziness that the Christmas season is supposed to! Sure it’s not a perfect production but honestly you’re not really ever going to find one of those anyway. The important thing is that you’ll walk away from the theater with a song in your heart, a smile on your lips, and (if your really really lucky) some free grapes. At this point tickets to this production are about as easy to come by as a limited edition version of “The Incredible Adventures of Captain Micah: Space Adventurer” but assuming you don’t mind extortion, bribery, or assassination I STRONGLY recommend picking up some tickets and checking out A Christmas Carol

I give it 4 out of 5.

  1. ronpyle1 says:

    Hey–fair enough. I’m responsible for the squeaky wood–never knew it would do that. But next time maybe we’ll just do it on the concrete floor with black boxes.

    Seriously–good job with the review. . .but you didn’t mention the awesome lighting effects!

  2. Micah says:

    Ha ha no offense meant to the maker of the wood floor 😉 I liked the set a lot that was just something that did rear it’s head from time to time!

    And yes the lighting was very good (particularly the Marley scene and some of the Narrator’s spotlights.) Also, it should be noted that, more then any show I have ever watched Christmas Carol really made me want a fog machine!! Thanks for reading!

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