A Scrooge of a different sort
It’s a new twist on an old story.
The Kaatza Lakeside Players is putting on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens but director Dena McPhee says audiences shouldn’t expect the expected.
“A Christmas Carol has been done and done and done but I don’t think anyone’s seen it like this before. It’s actually written as a radio and stage production,” she said.
“I envisioned it as a listening play. We’ve taken these ideas and compiled it into our own interpretation of A Christmas Carol.”
Everyone is familiar with A Christmas Carol.
It tells the story of a mean, rich old man, Ebenzer Scrooge who has lost his Christmas spirit. On Christmas Eve, he is visited by three ghosts, who show him what his misery will bring him. He wakes up on Christmas morning as a new man who is full of Christmas spirit.
McPhee says it’s been a difficult play to direct because the play relies on lighting and sound to bring it all together. This play has been particularly challenging for the actors, because in this version there aren’t any costumes or sets, not to mention there are 12 actors playing 29 parts.
“My actors, who bring the character to life, it’s a huge challenge for them because they don’t have costumes or set pieces.
“It’s all about them and their belief in the character,” she said. “To make it all magical, that’s where the lighting comes in and all of the sound effects are made visible and it’s a wonder cacophony of sound effects.”
This old story has significant meaning to Kaatza Players, it was the first show the company ever produced.
“We are celebrating 27 years here and A Christmas Carol was the first play we did so it was appropriate to redo A Christmas Carol. But this time we are producing a creative interpretation,” said Glenda Burg, the production co-ordinator and marketing director of Kaatza Players.
(A Christmas Carol) has a magical effect on everyone. Everyone wants to think about wonderful change, the change from evil to good. That kind of thing has magic to it,” Burg explained.
“I read that story every Christmas, it just seems right. It just gives me a good feeling of the season.”
So it can be a daunting to change and reinterpret such an old favourite.
But Burg says their award-winning director McPhee has stayed true to the story while incorporating a fresh idea.
“It all depends on how well Dena tweaks the imagination of the audience and she’s very good at that. The story becomes the star,” Burg said.
McPhee says she “never wanted to betray the author’s intent” but she tries to bring the audience into the play.
In their own way the audience becomes a character. But don’t worry – it’s a non-speaking part.
“We break the fourth wall so that everything we do and everyone we talk to is out in front. We are presenting it out.
“So when Scrooge talks to a spirit he is talking to the audiences. I want to bring families and people into their magical world.”
What: A Christmas Carol
When: 7 p.m., Dec. 5 to 8 with an 2 p.m. matinee and Dec. 8.
Where: Lake Cowichan Centennial Hall, 309 South Shore Road.
Tickets: $12.50, $10 seniors, children and members from Lake Cowichan Footwear, Lake Cowichan Curves and Portals in the Island Savings Centre, Duncan