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Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will close out the fall half of the OU Performing Arts and Concert Series.

OU Performing Arts and Concert Series to close Fall Semester with ‘A Christmas Carol’

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the final production to be featured in the fall half of the Ohio University Performing Arts and Concert Series.

Scott H. Severance said he knows audiences are familiar with what will happen during Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but that isn’t stopping him from still trying to surprise them.

“That’s the trick when doing an old chestnut like (A Christmas Carol),” Severance, the producer, director and writer of the tour heading to Athens, said. “We may not get everybody each time, but at some point, there’s going to be a point where an individual audience member will go, ‘Wow. I never expected that.’ ”

The North Country Center for the Arts’ tour of the Christmas classic is making a stop at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday as the final performance featured in the fall half of the Ohio University Performing Arts and Concert Series.

Dickens’ famed story tells the tale of the old, surly Ebenezer Scrooge and how he grows to become kinder after being visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

“Holiday performance options always rank well on our surveys,” Andrew Holzaepfel, the senior associate director of the Campus Involvement Center, said in an email. “We have had this Charles Dickens classic a few times, and (it) is always a crowd favorite.  I am looking forward to bringing the Fall (Semester) half of the series to a close on a high note.”

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Even though the show falls during finals week, Holzaepfel said he doesn’t expect that to hurt attendance.

“We have had shows during finals week previously — tour schedules have an impact on how things fall,” he said in an email. “The show is selling very well.”

Severance, who also plays Scrooge, said the show varies from other versions of A Christmas Carol because of its humor, emotion, special effects and puppetry and musical components.

Severance wrote an adaptation of the play and said he not only made some of the language more accessible to the modern ear, but he also made sure to make Scrooge more than just an old grouch.

“Partly because of the way I play the role and the way I think the story should evolve is that if you don’t feel sorry for Scrooge, then you’re not getting the bang for your buck,” he said. “This is the most classical tale of redemption ever written in the English language. … He’s not just a grouch. That doesn’t have any meaning for anybody.”

At the same time, Severance said some of the grouchiness is “actually comical.”

Severance’s version also features 26 different Christmas carols that are either used to underscore a scene or are fully performed by cast members. Some of the carols include “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Deck the Halls” and “Do You Hear What I Hear.”

The special effects, puppetry and scenery will be hard to miss, as Severance said the production includes a 10-foot tall Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come puppet — which he likened to a dementor from Harry Potter — and a giant projection screen that changes locales as Scrooge travels with the spirits.

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This is the second year Severance and his company have done the tour, and he said they don’t have any plans of stopping soon.

“We’ll probably keep doing it as long as we have the energy to keep doing it,” he said. “A Christmas Carol is … a right of passage. … Ideally, this thing will have a shelf life as long as we can keep it on the shelf.”


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