Every year for the past 32 years I ask myself, “What can Trinity Rep do to excite me about seeing yet another adaptation of the Dickens’ classic?”
And every year a different cast and an innovative director amaze me with a new twist.
One of the highlights this year is the integration of music, dance and talented local choirs into the production. A different choir, well-rehearsed and professional, opens and closes the play, in addition to being an integral part of one scene. The West Warwick High School Concert Chorale performed on press night, setting the bar high for those that follow.
Trinity veteran Stephen Thorpe plays Scrooge this year, minus the glasses and white hair, making the character more of an everyman. He is the boss from hell, the crotchety, money-oriented guy most of us have run across in the business world.
Director Mark Valdez uses a smaller, more concise set, allowing for seats on both sides, while still taking the action into and above the audience. There is lots of snow and brightly colored and drab costumes to distinguish rich from poor.
Jacob Marley (Mauro Hantman) makes a death-defying entrance, dragging Scrooge along for the ride, while the three ghosts all make their unique entrances. Timothy Crowe is delightful as the aging, forgetful Ghost of Christmas Past, while Fred Sullivan Jr. shows his flamboyant nature, controlling the stage as the Ghost of Christmas Present. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is usually a silent, cloaked apparition. This year it is an eerie, scary person that reminds me of Chucky in the horror movies.
Valdez has chosen to have Thorne play Ebenezer at three stages of his life, using clever techniques to evolve him from a young schoolboy to a young merchant to a middle-aged miser. And it works!
There are subtle changes in the script, some funny lines, and a few alterations to the story. On different years, Trinity has used both a maid and a laundress in the story. This year they use both.
And of course, the children (two separate casts) are delightful! I can’t wait to see what they do next year.
“A Christmas Carol” is at Trinity through December 30. For tickets call 351-4242.