Oh, I do love watching things live. Plays and such. And ever since I watched their production of Pygmalion in, oh, 2008, I think, I've had a bit of a crush on the Southwest Shakespeare Company. The problem is, I still don't watch very many of their productions. (I saw A Midsummer Night's Dream earlier this year, but it seems I didn't post on it.) I have, for instance, been wanting to watch A Christmas Carol from the first year they started it. Was that four years ago? Or only three? Then, finally, this year was the year.
A Christmas Carol is kind of like Romeo and Juliet--it's done so much, in so many different ways and with so many references to it, that it is sometimes overdone. But it's unlike it in this way: I think more people get at the essence of A Christmas Carol. Maybe it's just because Charles Dickens has a more direct message and Shakespeare is more up for interpretation. So Dickens created a story that has become so very familiar--and yet still so very touching.
Southwest Shakespeare had an interesting production. It was traditional and simple in a heartwarming way. I think it ran for about an hour and a half, so of course it's abridged, but still with all of the basic scenes. The main angle that this play took was music. The actors enter as carolers--which makes for a nice play on the title of the story. They sing several songs throughout the course of the play, whether in the context of the story or again as introductions or during transitions. Not just live acting, but also live singing. Though they're traditional Christmas songs, still I had to admire that these actors sing so much better than I ever will. The music added an extra touch of life to it all.
Ah, why don't I see more plays. What's so nice is getting to see a story that you know unfold right in front of you, to experience it anew, to see it happen. It's heartbreaking all over again to see how Scrooge has treated the son of his sister he loved so much; it's endearing to see the Cratchit family interacting; it's horrifying to see what the future can be. And it's so very uplifting to see how happiness and joy can come back into life and back into people's relationships.
To all of the cast and crew, thank you for the Merry, Merry Christmas Carol.