So it’s week nine already and the term is fast drawing to a close with the usual exclamations of “it’s gone by so quickly!” Christmas is rearing its tinselled head and with the festive spirit in mind Dramasoc will see out the term with a seasonal favourite: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Sitting in on a preliminary rehearsal I have to say, we’re in for a treat.
The adaptation of Dickens’ classic is the work of Dramasoc’s Internal Vice Chair, Kate Stephenson. Chatting to her while the actors arrive she says “there’s a lot of mileage in doing the classics” and you can be sure that the performances at the end of week nine will be Kate’s take of the original text. Kate’s got ambition: each night the drama barn will be hosting not one but two performances of A Christmas Carol; the performances themselves will condense Dickens’ tale into a fast-flowing 50 minute phenomenon, and the cast of seven will, with the exception of Ebenezer Scrooge, juggle various auxiliary parts that revolve around Scrooge’s festive epiphany. To use the hackneyed phrase, there’s no backseat in this production. However, in light of Dramasoc’s A Christmas Carol, this term bears a more significant meaning. In what will be an innovative use of stage space, the whole setup of the Drama Barn will be constructed in the form of a promenade set. That is, the action will happen around the audience panoramically in a specially constructed environment. I don’t want to give too much away on this point but half way through the rehearsal Kate announces “we need cardboard boxes”. Very mysterious indeed. There’s a large team of people making props for this production and we can expect a whole array of dramatic resources. Lighting will be key for the presentation of the three ghosts and it’s here that the shiver of a childhood fear ripples across my limbs; I was always quite perturbed by the ghost of Christmas future and it seems Kate is adamant that this ghost has to be scary. Sat among this merry troupe of actors however, such childish fears are soon forgotten.
There’s been carol singing aplenty – the sort which sacrifices fidelity to the lyrics for robustness in tune – and many a joke cracked. Glancing at my watch it is apparent that I have been sat here far longer than I intended. This doesn’t bother me at all however because it has been with great joy that I have witnessed this production begin to take shape. The humorous elements of A Christmas Carol are being kindled as I gather my things together – humour which I’ve no doubt will be amplified in the performances. From my brief glimpse of A Christmas Carol I feel sure that it is going to be a tasteful way to welcome in the Christmas season. So it’s week nine and as I leave the rehearsal I can feel the merriment of Christmas in my step.