New adaptations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol seem to spring up faster than you can say, “Bah, humbug!” A few of them are both faithful to the author, and fresh enough to satisfy audiences who know this story backwards and forwards. all for One productions is betting on Doris Baizley’s adaptation to fully satisfy when it opens on November 9 in the ArtsLab. Baizley’s take on the classic is a play-within-a-play retelling which was so popular when it premiered in Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum, that it was revived for five consecutive years!
In this version, a down-on-its-luck British touring company is stranded somewhere in Europe. Their props are tired, the costume budget is nil…and they’ve lost their key actor. But they soldier on, thanks to an inspired idea born of desperation: make the stage manager play Scrooge. The actors’ determination, some stage magic, and the power of story thus bring the play to vivid life.
Baizley’s script makes excellent use of Dickens’ most famous lines, and cleverly stages (and sometimes conflates) the key scenes in this time-honored tale of redemption. The cast of 12 play multiple roles, and perform all the sound effects and incidental music live. Several cast members play English handbells, and a violinist and guitarist add accompaniments to the many carols woven into the play. This immersive production will draw the audience in to the action (sometimes literally) and encourage them to sing along.
A Christmas Carol features afO newcomers Peter Meyer as Scrooge, Matt Derby as Cratchit, Whitnie Twigg as Belle, and Jack Hanson as Tiny Tim, along with regulars Nate Chen, Naomi Eddy, Jennifer Netting, Dennis Nichols, and Jonathan Young. Ruth Fearnow, Patience Fischer and Megan Speith play the “Clowns” who move the play along in various imaginative ways. A small acapella choir from Unity Performing Arts will be singing Christmas carols as the audience arrives for each performance.
A Christmas Carol will run for 6 performances, November 9-11 and 16-18, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:30 PM. For tickets, contact the ArtsTix box office at (260) 422-4226 or online at tickets.artstix.org.