As the final show of the fall half of the Performing Arts and Concert Series, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol brought laughter and gasps to an excited audience.
Christmas came early to Athens as residents and students alike donned their best red and green outfits to see Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday night.
The classic tale of redemption follows old, cheap Ebenezer Scrooge and his journey to be a better man after he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.
“I love the story,” Kim Brooks, who lives in Athens and works at Alden Library, said. “I have the old movie and everything, so it’s something that I like to watch, so the opportunity to see it on stage was appealing.”
The tour by North Country Center for the Arts was the final show featured in the fall half of the Ohio University Performing Arts and Concert Series.
Susan Hunter, an Athens resident, has season tickets to the series and said the show was “a little darker” than she thought it would be, though she still said it was “interesting.”
She added that the three women who narrated the play were “cheerful” and “uplifting.”
In addition to stand-in props, such as light poles and Scrooge’s bed, the set and scenery were largely illuminated on a projection screen that was designed to look like an outline of houses in Scrooge’s village. It was a component of the show that Rebekah Tarbutton, a third-year graduate student studying physical therapy, said she enjoyed and found interesting.
“We were really enjoying the projections in how they’re doing it and watching all of that,” Brooks said. “Just the special effects and everything and the acting is good too, but we’re just watching all the set.”
Brooks also said she enjoyed the costuming.
“I think the costuming, too, has been really, really well done,” she said. “I really like how they did Jacob Marley. All of it’s been really good and fitting for the time period, but I think Jacob looked awesome.”
The puppetry featured in the show also garnered many gasps as a 10-foot puppet with black robes and a skeleton face with one eyeball missing represented the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Despite the darkness in the play, MemAud was often filled with laughter — particularly from the children in the audience — as Scrooge, played by Scott H. Severance, “bah humbug”-ed his way across the stage.
Severance also serves as the producer, director and writer of the adaptation, which featured modernized, easy-to-understand language.
“It’s not Bill Murray’s Scrooged or anything like that,” Severance said. “There’s a lot of human comedy in it.”
There are also a lot of Christmas carols in it: 26 to be exact, from "The First Noel” to “Jingle Bells,” which were either sung by the cast or underscored in a scene.
After the cast took its bows, Severance motioned toward the audience and encouraged everyone to join the cast in singing the final carol: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”