Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2005
You'll have a Dickens of a time with 3 versions of play in area
The theaters are in Youngstown, Salem and Alliance.
By L. CROW
At least three area theaters will be presenting different versions of Dickens' popular story "A Christmas Carol."
Victory Christian Center's production is called "The Gospel According to Scrooge," with music by John Worrie.
"We have been doing this version on and off for about 15 years, and we continue to add to it and update it," said Pastor Joe Thomas. "In this version, Scrooge is visited by three angels rather than ghosts, and it has a gospel flair to it. There is a deeper reason for Scrooge's transformation."
But Pastor Thomas also says it is great comedy, and raves about the set and special effects.
"Scrooge and the angels will actually fly out the window," he said. "The backdrop of the street scene is 40 by 18 feet, made of 24 separate panels. The windows are all cut out, and each has a flickering candle. People swear that it looks three-dimensional."
The performance is free to the public.
Show dates are Dec. 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18, all at 7 p.m. Victory Christian Center is at 3899 McCartney Road, Youngstown. For more information, call (330) 536-2290, or visit www.victoryag.org.
Salem Community Theater will present the John Jakes version of "A Christmas Carol" with Charles Dickens (Bruce Marhefka) as the narrator.
Dick and Kathy Fawcett are directing, and Gary and Cheryl Kekel are the music directors.
"It is not a musical, but there will be music throughout," Dick said. "We are using English sacred and secular Christmas songs from the period, sung in the background to fill in for set changes. Dickens not only narrates, but becomes part of the crowd, and at one point, plays a mandolin."
The play runs weekends, Friday through Dec. 11, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Call (330) 332-9688.
Carnation City Players are presenting a new version of "A Christmas Carol" adapted from the original story by Dickens. It was written by Tammy Hyde of Alliance, who is also the technical director.
"I tried to stay as true to Dickens as possible, using his dialogue whenever I could," said Hyde. "I also used the language as it would have been in Dickens' time, including one particular scene where they speak with cockney accents."
Hyde also describes the set as "unusually cool."
"We are using 'wagons,'
movable set pieces, which begin in Act 1 as Old London, but get turned around in Act 2, and become houses, Scrooge's bedroom," she said. "They add a lot more depth."
Mary Beth Schulze, a founding member of the company since 1964 and lifetime honorary member, will direct. James Ballor, an English teacher at Alliance High School, plays Scrooge.
The play runs weekends Dec. 9-18, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30. Call (330) 821-8712.