Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Play

Today I went to neighboring Carroll County. There I saw the McDaniel College drama group put on a production of A Christmas Carol.

It was different to say the least.

Given that Dickens' original novel is now in the public domain in the United States, it invites countless interpretations and adaptations for stage and screen. In the case of this adaptation, though enjoyable because it was a Christmas show, and one of my favorite tales, a few choices were made that I think went over the top to some extent.

For example, there were many modern references and jokes. (Things such as the Beatles, folks songs, and in one case, Dickens himself, were made. ) There was also a seemingly out of context introduction which included Jacob Marleys funeral, which took a bit too long.

Perhaps most notable among its slight flaws was that it was too slap-sticky for my personal tastes...with lots of tripping over things, bumping into things, and the like. I would have preferred a bit more decorum.

However, I will not belittle the production. As I mentioned, there was a lot of energy present in the actors on stage. It seemed clear to me that just about everyone in the cast was enjoying themselves while in the show.

Even before the show, they stood out in front of the theatre, and wished Merry Christmas to passing motorists.

The audience, for the most part, seemed to enjoy themselves as well. Particularly when, during curtain call, as the actors were wishing the audience a Merry Christmas, Santa Claus himself made an appearance, and led the crowd in a rendition of Jingle Bells. A bit much for most shows and most theatres, perhaps. But here, on Christmas Eve Eve, in a small community based theatre, it was nice to see a theatre company do what it could to spread holiday cheer. Goofy, a bit extravagant, and at times, unnecessary. But such behaviors are all indicative of what Christmas should mean to those of us who celebrate it. While, as an actor I cannot give the production a perfect stamp of approval from a theatrical, it could not have been more successful from a Christmas Spirit standpoint. So, I salute the McDaniel College drama department for that. May we all be as willing to be that frivolous during the holidays.

To that end, a Merry Christmas to all of you, loyal blog readers.

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