“A Christmas Carol” is most probably the most adapted novel of all time — everyone and their brother seems to have a version of it, from Doctor Who to the Muppets.
The original by Charles Dickens, however, takes pride of place. As science fiction writer Connie Willis wrote, “The rumor that Dickens invented Christmas is not true, and neither, probably, is the story that when he died, a poor costermonger’s little girl sobbed, ‘Dickens dead? Why, then, is Christmas dead, too?’ But they should be.”
Which is why I was so excited for the 20th-anniversary production of Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse’s “Scrooge — A Christmas Carol.” This is a story that never gets old; the book hasn’t been out of print since its publication in 1843, and this Washington Terrace playhouse has been performing the Dickens story since 1992.
Even the experience of entering the theater was exciting, with a harpist performing live in the lobby and ushers dressed as chimney sweeps.
The scenery was gorgeous, a street view of Victorian London set on a night sky backdrop. The stage was small, sometimes looking overcrowded with actors, but also giving a more cozy atmosphere than in a larger theater. The aisles are wide, which is nice, making it easier for people to walk through a crowded row.
I have a confession to make: I adore top hats, which I am convinced will be the next “retro” fashion trend to be revived. I was therefore delighted by the capes, cloaks and top hats galore on stage in “Scrooge — A Christmas Carol.” I’m no expert, but the costumes looked fairly historically accurate — kudos to the playhouse’s costumer.
Another nice touch was the use of traditional English Christmas carols in the play, such as “Here We Come A-Wandering” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” And did I mention the ushers dressed as chimney sweeps?
Because the incorporeal spirit that Dickens describes in his book is a bit difficult for an actor to dress as, Christmas Past was portrayed as a godmother-like figure, played by Jacci Florence. The Ghost of Christmas Present was resplendent in green robe and holly crown, while the silent Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come loomed over the stage on stilts and in hooded cloak.
Although some aspects of the story were changed, the play was true to the spirit (no pun intended) of the original.
Ebenezer Scrooge was wonderfully portrayed by Kim Florence, in his 19th year performing the role. The actor showed a great emotional range, managing to quip “I hate people” and “Humbug!” with a straight face while still showing desperation and tenderness at the sight of Fan, Scrooge’s dead sister.
Kim Florence said after the production that his favorite part of acting in the play is the way it makes people feel. Ken Morley also did an incredible job as Bob Cratchit, along with the Cratchit children (two of whom are actually Morley’s own children).
“Scrooge — A Christmas Carol” was an enjoyable play, and as the show is produced by community members, it was fun to see people I knew on stage. With 20 years on stage at Terrace Plaza Playhouse, “Scrooge — A Christmas Carol” is a long-standing holiday tradition for many. “Scrooge” is a timeless story well acted, perfect for the holiday season.
“Scrooge — A Christmas Carol” plays at 7:30 p.m. Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 22, and Dec. 18-20, at Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse, 99 E. 4700 South, Washington Terrace. Admission is $10-$12 for adults and $7-$9 for children. For more information, call 801-
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Angelica Previte is a junior at Weber High School and an inveterate bibliophile. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.