Marley was dead - there's no doubt about that fact, especially if you've been attending theatre during the holiday season. A Christmas Carol is the classic Dickens' story of redemption (and ghosts), brought to life by many a company each year.
This year, Lake Country Playhouse continues their annual tradition of telling the tale. Director Bob Hurd - LCP board president who has previously taken a turn in the miser's shoes himself - brings some fun new twists, keeping the story fresh for repeat audiences.
A story of the supernatural, Ebenezer Scrooge is haunted by his deceased partner, followed by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. It is through these four spirits that Scrooge learns to leave his avaricious ways and honor the spirit of the season.
Goo and Terry Haller. All photos courtesy of Jim Baker.
In this year's LCP production, all of the spirits are played by women. This unique casting gives the theatre the chance to highlight some of its' strongest players in what is traditionally written to be a male-dominated cast. Goo rattles the rafters with her resolved portrayal of Jacob Marley, the man who inspires it all. Her agony is visceral, and certainly adds flame to Scrooge's candle.
Weinberg-Kinsey and Haller.
Hannah Weinberg-Kinsey brings a kind gentleness to her Christmas Past, but her power is apparent as Scrooge endeavors to evade the truths she reveals to him. Within the past we meet Scrooge's lost love, Belle. In Brittany Roux's portrayal, the heartbreaking split is handled with grace and elegance. Her voice is crystal clear, making pristine the ballad "Without Me".
Perhaps the most interesting gender reversal, however, is the casting of Cayla Anderson as Christmas Present. The role takes on an entirely new quality, vastly contrasting the typical grand, boisterous, masculine presence. Anderson's joy brings a heavy dosage of comedy to the script. The audience is in stitches over her ad-libs in "Come and Know Me, Man". However, the most endearing aura she brings is her maternal presence. The empathy between her portrayal of the spirit and the circumstances of the Cratchit home is tender and vulnerable. This makes for a much smoother transition into the passion for which the character is known.
Of course, A Christmas Carol wouldn't be possible without the grouch himself, Scrooge. Terry Haller is energetic and humorous, albeit stingy to start. Families will find themselves invested in his story, for this representation is not of a man too far gone into cruelty, but rather at the cusp of redemption.
Locals to the Hartland area are likely familiar with Lake Country Playhouse's A Christmas Carol tradition. This year's adaptations, made possible through Hurd's vision, make the story fresh yet again and a pleasant holiday evening for the whole family.