Nov 16, 2007

Remembering the story of Scrooge

(The FAC Blog is proud to bring you the inside scoop on our next musical, 'A Christmas Carol,' which opens on Nov. 30. Told to you, our cherished blog readers, by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, who will give you the unearthly inside skinny on the production.)

Yesterday evening, we three ghosts of Christmas had the opportunity of meeting the press to talk about the show we're in. Already, with the few hints I've given you, I'm sure that you've worked out that the show is "A Christmas Carol" and we three are the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

The Fine Arts Center Theatre Company have given us spirits the opportunity of blogging about the show, the rehearsal process, the actual performances, and anything else related to all this process of putting on a musical about dear old Scrooge. Last night was our indoctrination, as it were: we were interviewed by the Gazette, Indy, and Woodmen Edition to give our viewpoint on the show.

One topic that came up a couple of times was the thought that "A Christmas Carol" was too well-known to attract an audience. Surely everyone knows the story, right? So why would they come to see our version?

Ha! Well, of course, for a kick-off you'll get the three of us, a friendlier or, for that matter, a more sinister triplet of spirits you'll ever be likely to meet.

In reality, though, would the audience really remember the whole story? Or do they just remember bits of it? Scrooge of course, and Tiny Tim, and "God bless us, everyone". Maybe they remember scenes from one of the many adaptations of the story there have been over the years, or, maybe, like me, they had to read the story at school.

It is the curse, if you like, of any "classic" text, be it play or book. Just like Scrooge, we've all heard of Hamlet and Holden Caulfield and Heathcliff, and we think we know their stories, but in reality all we remember are lines, some scenes, but the plot remains elusive. We need to remind ourselves of what these plays and books are about, to remember why they are classic texts and to share the stories. All good stories are about a protagonist and the events that change his or her life, and the best ones are the ones that strike a chord deep into our consciousness. The story of Scrooge is no different: the reason it does have such widespread recognition is that it does speak to us all, that a bad character can turn out good in the end.

Having done a version of Christmas Carol in the past at Theatreworks (12 years ago, and I played Marley), I'll admit the story remains one of my favorites. This adaptation remains extremely close to the original, to the point of the characters uttering Dickens' words. It has some extremely apt and well-written music and lyrics to help move the story along, dark and in minor keys at the start, with some flashes to lighten the gloom, until all becomes joyous and happy at the end. I guarantee that you'll leave with a smile on your face at the end.

And you’ll find that you do remember the story after all.

The Ghost of Christmas Present (aka Julian M Bucknall)

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