BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL Transfigured by Elements Theatre Company
A Christmas Carol
By John Mortimer, Adapted from the story by Charles Dickens; Directed by Danielle Dwyer, CJ; Technical Director, Chris Kanaga; Stage Manager, Sr. Mercy Minor; Sound, Br. Timothy Pehta; Scenic Design, Hans Spatzeck-Olsen; Projections, Br. Mark Bushnell; Costumes, Michelle Rich, Sr. Mary Lane, Sr. Sarah Allen, Sr. Abigail Reid; Lighting Crew, Br. Stephen Velie, Sr. Victoria MacNeil, Tom Lynch, Br. Levi Edmonson, Sr. Constance Ayers, Br. Matthew Gillis, Peter Shannon, Br. Abraham Henderson, Sr. Seana Shannon, Amy Mitchell; Make-up/Hair, Sandy Spatzeck-Olson, Amy Mitchell; Properties, Karlene Albro; Atmospheric Effects, Steve Minster, Br. Matthew Gillis, Jesse Haig; Set Construction, Steve Minster, Paul Moore, David Bushnell, Jesse Haig; Set Painters, Lexa Hale, Sr. Katherine Mary Hamilton; Venue Master, Br. Joel Sweet; Stage Crew, Jesse Haig, Br. Matthew Gillis, Sr. Seana Shannon, Amy Mitchell
CAST: Sr. Danielle Dwyer, Narrator; Brad Lussier, Ebenezer Scrooge; Br. Stephen Velie, Bob Cratchit; Kyle Norman, Scrooge's Nephew Fred; Chris Kanaga, Jacob Marley's Ghost, The Spirit of Christmas Present, and others; Peter Haig, Fezziwig and others; Jeremy Haig, Young Scrooge; Ellen Ortolani, The Spirit of Christmas Past, Mrs. Cratchit; Heather Norman, Belle and others; CHORUS: Rachel McKendree, Kyle Norman, Sarah Hale, Kate Shannon, Jeremy Haig, Lindsey Kanaga, Sr. Phoenix Catlin, Stephanie Haig; BRASS/MUSICIANS: Mark Albro, Br. Jacob Witter, Mike Hale, Sr. Marianne Wierzbinski, Steve Minster; Jim Jordan, Harpsichord; Tower Bell Ringers: Lexa Hale, Sr. Alicia Mitman, Vicky Kanaga, Mary Shannon, Sr. Joan Jackson, Mary Jordan, Peter Shannon, Wayne Schuman, Br. John Henderson, Br. Anthony Kanaga, Amy Mitchell, Andrew Mitchell
Performed December 13-15 & 19-22 by Elements Theatre Company at the Church of the Transfiguration, Rock Harbor, Orleans, MA; 508-255-3999 or www.elementstheatre.org
Chestnuts roasting on an open flame, bell ringers fervently toiling in the courtyard tower, and carols emanating from a sonorous brass quintet were among the panoply of sensory stimuli surrounding the Elements Theatre Company presentation of A Christmas Carol at the Church of the Transfiguration at Rock Harbor in Orleans that ran for two weekends in December. Under the direction of Sr. Danielle Dwyer, a chorus of eight and nearly a dozen actors played multiple roles in the Readers' Theatre format of John Mortimer's adaptation of the venerable story by Charles Dickens. Set in London in 1843, the timeless tale was the thirty-one year old Dickens' Christmas gift for the world; more than a century and a half later, it endures, and it virtually glittered in Elements' dramatic interpretation. Could there be a more appropriate setting for the transformational journey of Ebenezer Scrooge than the sanctuary of the Church of the Transfiguration?
Uniformly dressed in outfits of simple black and white or only black, the ensemble sat behind music stands draped in black on a tiered platform flanked by two lamp posts and two Christmas trees strung with white lights. London scenes from the story were projected on the rear wall and a modicum of props was used, such as chimes to indicate the passing hours, a pair of hats to suggest the Spirits of Christmas Past and Present, and a wooden bench for the Cratchit family's hearth. However, the dearth of set pieces was made up for by atmospheric effects - foggy mist oozing down the tiers, lighting, and sound - all in service to the ghostly aspects of the story, and the rich layer of musical underscoring by the brass quintet and a harpsichord.