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Staged versions of “A Christmas Carol” come in every possible flavor. In 2020, though, they were all streamed, for America’s theaters were still shut tight by COVID-19. This year, though, they’re mostly open again—at least for the moment—and several regional theaters have opted to break the long hiatus with productions of Charles Dickens’ holiday-themed classic, many of which are simultaneously being streamed to offer virus-shy patrons a safer way to enjoy the show.
One of the latter is Rhode Island’s Trinity Repertory Company, which has been performing its own version of “A Christmas Carol” for the past 45 years—it is restaged and reworked anew each season—and which has now brought it back to Trinity’s 500-seat Providence stage after a 20-month interregnum in public performances. It’s a broad, genially acted, multi-racial big-stage production that is comprehensively child-friendly…
Down in Philadelphia, the Lantern Theater Company, a top-tier troupe that I have yet to see live but which I fortuitously discovered early this year through streaming, is performing a one-man “Christmas Carol” played on a postage stamp-sized stage by Anthony Lawton, who wrote the adaptation in collaboration with Christopher Colucci (also the sound designer) and Thom Weaver (also scenic and lighting designer). The simple “set” consists of a wooden lectern that is turned on its side and pressed into multiple service as a couch and sundry other things.
As for the text, it has been partially rewritten and modernized by Messrs. Lawton, Colucci and Weaver, but in a way that preserves much of Dickens’ original, bringing long-overlooked lines to newly glittering life (“Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it”) while commenting on others in a bold, immediate way that all but explodes off the stage….
* * *Read the whole thing here.