A story of redemption, transformation and the spirit of the holiday season, A Christmas Carol is a classic tale told thousands of times over. The story behind the book and its author are the focus of a Lost & Found Theatre production that opens next week.
In this season’s remount of last year’s successful production of Charles Dickens Writes A Christmas Carol, Lost & Found Theatre has made some tweaks to the show, adding some new elements.
Spokesperson Hannah Ziss says this year’s run boasts some improvements.
“We can say with certainty that this is a better show than last year and we are really excited about that,” she said. “It is the same play, with the same director, and it is a lot of the same design, but we are always looking for ways to improve.”
The show takes the well-known story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-come and Bob Cratchit and his family. Published just before Christmas in 1843, the story was released at a time when Dickens was becoming disillusioned with the Industrial Revolution and the commercialism it brought. Ziss says the play tells the story of Dickens while he is writing the story made to sway the masses back to the magic of Christmas rather than the materialism that plagues the holiday time these days.
Transformation and generosity, as seen in Scrooge’s storyline, are ideas Ziss says she wants the audience to ruminate on during, and after the show.
“There is a reason why people have connected to this story for almost 200 years. He is looking out at a London that was going through the changes of the Industrial Revolution, which brought so much of the way that we consume in today’s world,” she said. “He demonstrates such a universal sentiment through Scrooge’s loss of relationships and how we are always able to reclaim that. When people leave the show, they will feel a sense of hope about the world because of our ability to be reborn in the way that Scrooge is in this story. I think that it is easy to be cynical about the way the world is and the way that we are in the world and this story demonstrates that we have avenues to change. That is very exciting.”
Young actor Parker Merlihan is part of the cast for the second year in a row, and Ziss says he is one of the only members who is playing very different roles this time around.
“Last year, Parker played young Scrooge, but this year he is far too tall and looks way older, so it is an interesting progression for Parker, playing a young boy in the story last year, to being a much more adult character. Now, he is playing young Jacob Marley, who is a young adult, and the character of William in Christmas Future. He is also in the chorus of carolers. He is a strong talent. It is very fun. Most of the other people that have come back have come back in the same roles, but Parker is one of the only that has come back in a different role. It has been exciting for him to experience the show in a new context.”
Elmira Theatre Company member Deb Deckert is also onboard as the show’s assistant director, part of Lost & Found Theatre’s professional mentorship program.
The show will be performed for region audiences 12 times this year, starting on Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. There are morning, matinee and evening showings right up until Dec. 23 at the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts in Kitchener.
Tickets are $18 for students and $29 for adults. The Dec. 14 preview showing has reduced prices at $22 for adults. They can be purchased by phone at 519-896-2253, at the box office one hour before the performance begins, or online at www.lostandfoundtheatre.ca.