Lyceum brings holiday cheer with 'A Christmas Carol'
The Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock brought to life on stage the Charles Dickens' holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol," to entertain, endear and enjoy this festive season.
Lyceum's Producing Artistic Director Quin Gresham directs this new adaptation with an excellent and vibrant cast from the old miser Ebenezer Scrooge himself -- portrayed by Ron Wisniski -- to the children, including Cooper Rainwater's heartwarming portrayal of Tiny Tim.
The story of "A Christmas Carol" begins on Christmas Eve, when the streets and people of London are basking in the glow of the holiday season, that is until Scrooge disgraces their presence. After this stalwart titan of industry and commerce spews his hatefulness for the holiday and for humanity towards charities and his employee Bob Cratchit, Scrooge is visited by his former business partner who has been deceased for seven years, Jacob Marley.
As a kid, I've always loved ghost stories and for me, this is the part of the story that garners my full attention. The production used a mixture of blinking lights, smoke and eerie voices to portray Marley's ghost, and it was dark and foreboding. At this point in the story, Marley warns Scrooge of the regrets he has when he was a vile and selfish human being, much like Scrooge is himself he points out. He tells Scrooge he will be visited by three ghosts, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.
I thought all ghosts were handled wonderfully, two actors of which portrayed past and present -- Laura Sexauer with grace and Timothy Shew with gusto -- but the Ghost of Yet To Come was a towering dark shroud that didn't speak and only pointed the way for Scrooge to come to his senses in a bleak and grim future.
The scenes in the past were a welcome respite after the dark warnings of Marley's ghost when Scrooge was transported back to his past to witness his childhood, and the warmth and cheer of his former employer Fezziwig and his wife's Christmas party. It was at that party that he proposed to his love, Belle. However, after his greed for money got the best of him, Belle broke off the union, which instigated the young Scrooge's first use of "Humbug!"
In the present scenes, Scrooge was invisibly present at his nephew's Fred's Christmas party and after, watched the Cratchit family take gratitude and enjoy their meager Christmas dinner. In that moment, Scrooge took heart to Tiny Tim's plight and asked the Ghost of Christmas Present if the boy would live. The ghost said he saw an empty chair by the hearth and a owner-less crutch. To close out the present scenes, the Ghost of Christmas Present warned Scrooge of his ignorance to the poor.
At which the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come bellows in and shows Scrooge his desolate future of which people rejoice in his death, and how Scrooge's disregard for human compassion and kindness made the world frightful. Scrooge pleads for the chance to change of what's yet to come and when he wakes, he's in his bed and it's Christmas morning.
Now as a changed man, Scrooge awakens to right all the wrongs he has made to his employees and to his family. He is accepted lovingly by all, inviting the audience to end the play - which can be quite dark at times -- to a cheerful and boisterous finale singing Christmas carols, celebrating Scrooge's transformation into a person of true value and worth. Joy to the world, indeed.
"A Christmas Carol" will run until Dec. 21. Visit lyceumtheatre.org for ticket prices and showtimes.
Contact Jesse Brown at email@example.com