Christmas is the time to give without expecting to receive anything in return. The main character of the play Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Larry Yando, learns the importance of family, friends, and giving by being visited from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. A Christmas Carol performed at the Goodman Theatre was directed by Henry Wishcamper and adapted by Tom Creamer. I really enjoyed this performance with all of the colorful lights, costumes, and the characters’ British accents.
Each visiting ghost takes Scrooge on a journey to show how the people around him felt about him. He got to view how they act when he is not around. Through the costume designed by Heidi Sue McMath, there was always snow and coats and scarves to show the cold winter season.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a well-known book, play and movie. In the story, Scrooge is an elderly man who is mean to everyone around him, especially as Christmas time approaches. As he continues to mourn the death of his business partner Jacob Marley, played by Joe Foust, he becomes more bitter every year. He refuses to give raises to his workers. He won't let a little homeless boy sit outside his house. The ghost of Christmas past takes Scrooge back in time to when he was a little boy. The ghost of Christmas present shows him how the holidays were spent without him. Scrooge learned a lot about the current life problem of all the people around him. The ghost of Christmas future takes him years ahead and shows how no one will care about him after he has died. Ebenezer is overwhelmed by this whole experience and then has a change of heart.
When the ghost of Jacob Marley visits Scrooge, the lights flickered, the sound thundered, and the props on stage shook. The lighting and sound design perfectly structured by Robert Christen and Richard Woodbury matched each scene. The costumes were realistic in relation to the time and season. The characters all wore coats, gloves, scarves, etc. There was snow and Christmas trees and other holiday symbols. The scenic design was constantly changing and evolving as the show progressed. Each scene seemed to be carefully thought out, colorful, and beautiful.
The sounds such as the wind blowing and bells jingling added to the effect of it actually being wintertime. The lighting made the scenes like when Jacob Marley came back to life scary since it was dark and flashing. Each costume seemed to have been carefully planned out to make sure it not only fit the location, but the time period as well.
Adam Belcuore, the casting director, did a fantastic job of choosing people for the roles; the actors represent each characters well. They each spoke eloquently with an accent. The movements were believable and never seemed too dramatic. No part was overplayed or underplayed. A bravo goes out to Matthew George Abraham, Brynden M. Cleveland, Matthew R. Dwyer, and Mia Moore for an outstanding performance. These children played a few of the supporting characters and as extras. Those young actors did amazing job at maintaining their characters.
The scene changes are flawless and props are constantly moving around the stage throughout the story. A few times in the play, Scrooge flies across the stage while the audience stares in amazement. They could have easily caught my attention as they moved the props around, but each house or door moved on itself. No scene changes seemed distracting from the main plot or character development because they were executed so well. I have seen different versions of A Christmas Carol and this way by far one of the best interpretations of it I have seen.
The only part of the play that I found confusing is the entire existence of Jacob Marley. The narrator said Jacob was Scrooge’s business partner. I couldn’t understand why the death of Marley had such a negative effect on Scrooge. Marley’s passing seemed to be the entire reason for all of Scrooge’s misery. Besides that character, the play was intriguing. It was bright, exciting, and magical.