The Charles Dickens novel of A Christmas Carol was written in 1843 and the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and Marley’s Ghost has been haunting us ever since. My favorite rendition of the story as a film was the Alastair Sim black and white version from 1951.
Watch the Trailer of A Christmas Carol from 1951 here – imdb.com/video/vi1758445337?
The actual title of the book was “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.” Ebenezer Scrooge is the central character and has been described as “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” I don’t know how many times Peg and I have seen live productions of A Christmas Carol, but we can certainly tell you of the best one we’ve ever seen . . . it’s playing at the Harlequin in downtown Olympia. The play has been adapted by director Aaron Lamb. I like Lamb’s sentiments about the play, “A story of redemption is fundamentally a story about hope. And forgiveness. May you too find ghosts that change you for the better this holiday season.”
The presentation of A Christmas Carol was the second production we’ve experienced at Harlequin, where there was no intermission. Once it began, it ran straight to the end. It our case, an hour and ten minutes. The play began with a small wooden coffin rolling out onto the stage amidst fog. Peg and I about six feet from the stage. Two children sat in the front row before us as they waved their hands trying to make the fog less dense.
Characters from the play came out of the rolling fog, each with their own lantern, and the story began.
The most intreaging aspect of the play for us was the boxes. As the stage was being set with it’s fog, the characters brought out what appeared to be tool chests. They looked to be about three feet long, one foot wide and a foot high. I’m guessing that these were created by Gerald B. Browing in his role of Properties Design. The boxes were stacked together and when complete gave Scrooge his desk and a perch or a pulpet to look down on others. The boxes contained his little treasure chest where he counted out his money in one scene and his robe for warmth in the evenings at home.
The ghosts of Scrooges life come back to haunt him. Jacob Marley was Scrooge’s partner. “Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner.” (from Spark Notes). Marley’s character a restless ghost and is usually performed wrapped in chains. In the Harlequin production he wears a chain that is connected through the fog back to the grave. He constantly pulls the chain to wander and the chain constantly pulls him back to the grave yard.
The ghost of Christmas Past shows us that Scrooge once had friends. He laughed, he danced, he loved. Like many of his friends, the laughter, the cancing, and the love . . . all died, and yet Scrooge lives on.
Scrooge begins to understand that he has the power to change the present and the future. This is a great message for many of us. We always have the chance to change our lives. Perhaps, not for a glorious future, but at least we can change our outlook, our goals, and alter the course of our life.
For Scrooge and those he cares about, life has been changed. That we can make that difference to ourselves and others is the essence of life and our spirit.
Darren Mills, the resident Costume Designer, deserves a round of applause for his efforts. The clothes looked like they could have come from 1843. The shoes of Ebenezer Scrooge looked like something that would have been worn by a successful businessman from a hundred and seventy plus years ago. They were perfect for Scrooge. They spoke of class, comfort, and serviceability.
A Christmas Carol is a prime example of live theatre that the Harlequin continues to deliver. Their theatre is located in downtown Olympia. We’ve never had to walk more than three short blocks for parking. For A Christmas Carol, we parked by the Harlequin backdoor. For more information about the Harlequin season, please visit – harlequinproductions.org
You can watch Terry Edward Moore sharing his thoughts about playing Scrooge, and on why A Christmas Carol has become such a fixture in the Holiday season. – harlequinproductions.org/2021/11/23/actor-interview-terry-edward-moore-talks-a-christmas-carol/
You can get tickets through New Year’s Eve – ticketsales.washingtoncenter.org/online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=E1E9F159-BCBE-4D8F-B34E-FCB1885EBE6E
Susanne Bacon says
Wow, this sounds like a wonderful production of one of my favorite Christmas stories! It carries me back to my late teens when I started a tradition of my own of going to see it on stage in my hometown. The stage prop: a chair, a coat stand, a nightcap, a nightgown, and spotlights. The cast: Brian D. Barnes’ One Man Theatre from London, UK. It was a performance in English, by the way, which created a very different kind of audience from that of the usual ones in my mother tongue. I will never forget some of the scenes. Barnes impersonated every single character, and the audience laughed ands cried. I still know passages by heart, and my inner ear repeats them in that wonderful British accent and that very articular melodies he chose for the different characters. Thank you for spreading the Christmas spirit, Don!
Don Doman says
Indeed. Peg and I were just blown away for the production skill. The Harlequin in Olympia has long been a quality theatre and this play is one for the books. I would see it again, except for our schedule. Tomorrow, Peg and I are going to see slightly different version that I think will be stunning as well . . . Lakewood Playhouse at eight. Thanks for commenting . . . and enjoy when you can.
Heidi Prince says
Such an unexpected and AMAZING ghost of Christmas Past. Really a unique and touching (and funny!) take on the classic. The child actors really blew me away.
Don Doman says
Although it was mostly an older audience, it was certainly nice seeing children in rapt attention and enjoying the production and part I’m sure was more than just the ghostly fog, but seeing other children performing so well on stage as well. I’m glad you enjoyed the production. Thanks for sharing.