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Theater continues ‘A Christmas Carol’ tradition

December 6, 2012

By Kelsey Smith

Great Lakes Theater is bringing the Christmas spirit to downtown Cleveland with their annual production of “A Christmas Carol” at Playhouse Square.

The Charles Dickens classic was originally adapted for the stage by Gerald Freedman, and this year’s 24th presentation of the play is staged by Sara Bruner.

The tale is one that is known to many: mean-spirited Ebenezer Scrooge, despite receiving invitations to celebrate Christmas with others, chooses to spend Christmas alone and responds with an angry “Bah Humbug” whenever someone wishes him a happy holiday. To show him the error of his ways, his deceased business partner, Marley, appears to him on Christmas Eve and informs Scrooge that three spirits, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, will visit him. Scrooge observes his life from the outside, and comes to realize the mistakes that he has made, vowing to change his selfish and greedy ways.

The actors tell Dickens’ story with comedic moments, producing splits of laughter in the galleries.

In the Great Lakes Theater adaption, the Cleveland family gathers in a Victorian-era parlor on Christmas Eve where the children’s mother proceeds to read the classic story. The youngest child, Master William, re-imagines the story with familiar faces. The family’s butler becomes Scrooge, his father is Bob Cratchit, his mother is Belle and the children are the Cratchit children, with William as Tiny Tim.

The actors are extremely believable in their roles, which include the adaption of English accents and wearing clothes that would fit into the 1860s.

Equally as impressive as the actors’ portrayal are the special effects. A wall splits and the ghosts appear in thick clouds of fog while intimidating background sounds echo in the theater.

The ghosts have very different personalities. Christmas Present is very tall and jolly, and sprinkle Christmas spirit on the people they encounter. Christmas Future, on the other hand, is extremely menacing. He never speaks, and he bares a resemblance to the Grim Reaper.

The Great Lakes Theater does an excellent job of bringing this classic holiday tale to life. The actors fit into their roles wonderfully and bring Dickens’ words to life in a lively production. Though the story is familiar to most, this production is not one to be missed.

“A Christmas Carol” will be appearing in the Ohio Theatre at PlayhouseSquare from Nov. 30-Dec. 23. Tickets range from $28-$60, with student tickets available for $26. Tickets can be purchased at www.playhousesquare.or, or by visiting the Playhouse Square ticket office.

Photo by Roger Mastroianni