A Christmas Carol: Fine Art Center Festivity
By Chelley Gardner Smith
It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and stores all over town have decked the halls and put up the lights with glimmering price tags to boot. It’s enough to make the elves weary of Christmas if not the humans, but there may be a little spot where you can go to reconnect with the meaning of Christmas and its message of love and hope.
“A Christmas Carol,” originally written by Charles Dickens, is being performed at the Fine Arts Center Nov. 30 through Dec. 23, five times a week and twice on Saturday.
Robert Rais plays the irascible old Scrooge. If you saw him in Hamlet as the grave digger, or Fisk in Zorro, you know that Rais is someone you don’t want to miss. Ornery and clever are too subtle adjectives for him.
And the best actors don’t stop there. You’ve seen Amy Brooks in many plays in town. She plays the Ghost of Christmas Past, and much to the envy of other actors, gets to fly about the stage. Says Sheley, stage production director, “She is amazing. I realized when she was on stage I was just hanging on her every word. Then between acts she comes out (to talk) to everyone and she’s like ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ Then she returns to the stage and, she’s right there. She is amazing.”
Julian Bucknall who recently played Polonious in Theatreworks, Hamlet, has joined the crew. He will be the Ghost of Christmas Present. Before being in Colorado Springs, he was a Londoner. He will wear stilts and be an amazing 7’ tall on stage.
Halee Towne, a Wasson graduate, under the fine tutelage of Ms. Vogel, is playing the very scary Ghost of Christmas Future. She went to college, then to China, and yes, she speaks Chinese, and then people in China encouraged her to get serious about theatre, so she went to London and studied there for a year. Says Brooks, “She has an amazing singing voice. Just the other day someone asked, ‘Where’s the girl with the great voice?’ that’s how she’s referred to.”
Brooks continues, “I’ve been reading the original ‘Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens to my daughter, Tess. She is enchanted by the story. It’s a story about second chances, and who doesn’t want a second chance? In a day of war, who doesn’t want a sense of hope; not in a corny way; but in a real way. I cry when I’m on stage watching the scenes. The play is very true to the original wording by Dickens. It doesn’t go to sentimentality. There are so many modern themes; overcoming poverty, not because of money, but because of love.”
Bucknall continues,” The story is so meaningful. Through the three ghosts, Scrooge can see what he has left behind, what he is missing in the present, and what could be if he does not change. It’s really about celebrating togetherness.”
“It seems like the Christmas Season is always so busy,” adds Towne. “The play feels like Christmas. It’s a place to come from all the craziness, sit down, rest, and reflect a little with others. If I wasn’t in the play, I’d come see it.” They all laugh.