There is something magical about the theatre that is difficult to articulate. Perhaps it’s the fact that when all the elements of good storytelling come together, we lose ourselves in the moment of the play and are transported away from our daily responsibilities and interruptions (something that is harder for me to do as I get older). But when it happens, I find myself a kid again, just like I do when Christmas rolls around each year. The excitement of the decorations, music, parties, and time with family and friends brings a sense of comfort and joy to the end of another year. Traditions connect us in the present moment to significant and special memories of our past.
A Christmas Carol is part of that tradition. Throughout the years, I’ve experienced countless versions of A Christmas Carol. I’ve seen Alastair Sim, Bill Murray, George C. Scott, Jim Carey, and even Kermit the Frog portray Scrooge in movies. I’ve seen small cast and large casts bring the story to life on stage. I’ve even seen dancing ghosts in kick lines offer up a flashy musical spin. Needless to say, it’s easy to gloss over when we think of yet another production of A Christmas Carol. So why bother…we all know it, right?
When we began work on this new version, we challenged ourselves to see the world of Ebenezer Scrooge from new eyes and simply tell the story. No matter how many times we hear this story, it still remains the most powerful tale of transformation. At the heart of A Christmas Carol is a man whose life must change…or else. Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, there’s a little bit of Scrooge in each of us. Despite our good intentions, we race through our busy year, often losing sight of the important things in life – time with our loved ones, gratitude for our many gifts, and charity to help those in need.
And that’s the magic of A Christmas Carol. We revisit the story each and every year, and there waits Scrooge, Marley and Cratchit – still reminding us of our responsibility to humankind. It reaffirms that Christmas time is “a good time, a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” That’s why we tell this story over and over again.
It has been a joy to return to the Clarence Brown Theatre and work on this production. May this story rekindle the innocence and hope of that child in each of us.