Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Christmas Carol At The Kinnelon Library

Last Saturday, December 13, 2008, my daughter and I attended a theatrical performance of A Christmas Carol by the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company at the Kinnelon Library.

Are you familiar with A Christmas Carol, the story by Charles Dickens, written in 1843? [Here is a site with the original story.] It's about the bitter, mean and snarling miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who cares only about his money -- until his dead friend, Jacob Marley, and several other ghosts visit him one night offering him a chance at redemption...  

My first memory of A Christmas Carol  has to do with the 1951 movie version - gritty, gripping and a little frightening. [You can view original and colorized clips on YouTube.]  And, then, I witnessed Patrick Stewart's one-man performance on Broadway. Talk about spell-binding! [This link describes the experience which is also available on CD...]  One man, no costumes, no stage sets, but a voice with the power to bring to life in full detail the entire cast from the story.

Last week's 45 minute production featured two professional actors Daryl Ray Carliles and Rebekah Bayles from the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company which specializes in educating and entertaining children. Carliles played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge and Bayles, the remaining 6 critical roles.  The audience supplied a few other parts, like that of Tiny Tim and Mrs. Cratchit, making the performance interactive and fun.

At the end of the show, the actors answered questions - about the show, the stage set [it rolls up and breaks down into PVC pipe pieces that all fit into a few travel bags], costumes, how to play multiple roles, etc.  

Here's how my daughter described the story in her weekend journal:  

"There were two actors. The boy played Ebenezer Scrooge and the girl played six roles. She played Jacob Marley, the ghost of Christmas passed, the narrator...  Scrooge hated Christmas. At the end, Scrooge loved Christmas.  Scrooge gave money to poor people.  He did a happy dance at the end.  He got a large goose for dinner for Bob Cratchit."

The event was funded by the Kinnelon CLL [Center for Lifelong Learning].  A Christmas Carol was terrific, and we were both thoroughly entertained!

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