Friday, December 12, 2008

Singing the Praises of this Carol

Tonight Bart, his sister Lage and our Aunt will be attending A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre. For Bart and I it will be our fourth year in a row. (Or at least third.) Yes, it’s that excellent of a production. All of it from the script to the acting to the special effects are sheer delights. And since the actors tend to switch out from year to year (while others remain the same), a new experience is to be had each production. But it doesn’t stop there. They also vary other parts of the show. Such as where/how Jacob Marley enters and the arrvial of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

I am still trying to figure out some of the effects. In particular, the window in Nephew Fred’s home. Are you ready for this? It’s snowing! Not that amazing, you say? What if I told you that the window is a fly-on set piece (suspended by wires) and that just the window frame and panes exist. It’s suggestive, there is no wall. And yet…it is snowing. The snow can be seen falling in the glass, but none of it falls behind the bottom of the window pane. (This part isn’t so difficult to solve, as perhaps there is an unseen tray protruding to collect the snow.) However, there is nothing above that could be producing the flakes, as they fall only within the window itself. It’s astounding. Aunt attended last year and I’ll never forget her sincere “Ooooh!” exclaimed in delight at a bit of the Ghost of Christmas Present’s magic.

My favorite part of the tale is when Scrooge arrives on Christmas Day at his nephew’s home. Fred’s fiancĂ© kindly welcoming the repentant miser chokes me up. Call me sentimental, it’s just touching no matter what you say.

And on the subject of A Christmas Carol, isn’t it intriguing how much exposure and alteration this story has seen? It certain endures the test of time. Umpteen movies have been made of it and each one has its great moments. It’s been replicated with authenticity and also completely “abused” into a Flintstones’ special, even by Mr. Magoo. It's been acted quite seriously by cinematic great George C. Scott and done both as a movie and as a One Man Show by the gallant Patrick Stewart. Even lovable crazy man Bill Murray played the miser in the ingeniously re-tooled Scrooged. Kelsey Grammer stars as the miser in a musical also featuring Jane Krakowski from 30 Rock. The Muppets have a take on the tale. Good grief, Barbie’s Christmas Carol is released this season.

Very few stories are as malleable as this one. In whatever form it takes, the poignant message of Dickens shines through like the light of the Ghost of Christmas Past.

If you’re in Chicago, do check it out if you’re never seen the show. You won’t be disappointed. The direct link for tickets and info is here.

Second Post: Fa la la la WOW

1 comment:

Danielle Mari said...

How wonderful to be able to see it on stage!

Though, Carol Kane in Scrooged makes me smile just thinking of it.

"Sometimes you have to *slap* them in the face just to get their attention!"