The closing weekend of A Christmas Carol starts today!
The Concordia Players Theatre is coming up on its second weekend of performances of A Christmas Carol, an adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel about the redemption of the bitter Ebenezer Scrooge and the importance of generosity, humility, and family.
A Christmas Carol, originally authored in 1843, has been a holiday favorite onscreen and onstage since the original onstage adaptation in 1844. CUW is producing an adaption by Steven Young, which features the real story of Charles Dickens and his family in tandem with the well-known characters audiences love. Dickens is a constant presence in the play, his life story providing additional nuance to a well-known classic.
Senior Caleb Dunst, playing Charles Dickens, found it to be “quite a task to take on the role of a man going through potentially the roughest patches of his life. He’s uninspired, frustrated, miserable, and yet still needs to find solace in the end.” Dunst considers the role his “most involved role by far.”
Sophomore Joshua Bowen, who stars as the show’s Scrooge, commented on his experience playing the iconic character.
“A difficult aspect of getting into the role of Scrooge was his change of heart. The audience needs to be able to see where Scrooge’s changes begin and the pain he endures to get to the changes,” Bowen says. “I learned that Scrooge isn’t just a grumpy, stingy old man. He’s just a man who’s afraid of loss, and he pushes people away because he doesn’t want to lose anyone again.”
Despite the natural challenges of the character, he has thoroughly enjoyed “doing Scrooge’s crotchety old man mannerisms” and having the opportunity to interact with most of the other characters on stage.
The production boasts one of the largest casts the theatre department has seen in recent years, featuring 36 CUW actors and 23 children from the community. The youth actors are divided into two casts. Fog, snow, and actors on stilts are just a few of the special effects that help the story come to life.
Senior Clara Ellis, Christmas Carol’s stage manager, expressed her pride in the cast and the work they’ve done.
“This cast works so well together… The college actors have been fantastic with the kids,” she says. “Most of them have been at most, if not all, of the “children” rehearsals and have been helping our child supervisor, Josh Barclay, by hanging out with them, watching them, helping them with lines, playing games, and lots more to help them feel comfortable with being here and around a lot of people they don’t know.”
Christmas Carol opened last weekend on Friday, November 10th. This week the cast has welcomed many local school groups into Todd Wehr Auditorium for matinee showings before their second round of performances (November 16th to November 19th), totaling 12 shows in a span of 10 days.
Concordia plays have typically been held for one weekend only, with the exception of last fall’s production of Pride and Prejudice, which added a second weekend due to high demand. Double weekends have become less feasible for the department in recent years as they work around the performances of musical ensembles and the growing number of events in need of the large space the auditorium provides. It was decided that A Christmas Carol, being as large and iconic as it is, was deserving of a longer run.
When asked why people should attend the show, Ellis said, “Christmas Carol is such a classic show. Each and every one of the actors has worked super hard to put on a great show… There are also a lot of funny jokes made throughout the show, but you’ll have to come and see it to hear those.”
“Come for the ghosts, if nothing else,” Dunst says. “There’s so much that has been put into them, both from a technical aspect as well as portrayal. They look and sound awesome.”
Catch it before it ends!
Tickets are available for purchase online or at the box office. Concordia students can attend for $5, and faculty and staff for $7. Additional pricing is available on CUW’s website. You can find A Christmas Carol highlights and takeovers by the cast on the theatre department’s Instagram, @cuwplayers.
—Mikayla Amack is an assistant editor and writer for The Beacon, the official student newspaper of Concordia University Wisconsin.