A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Adapted from Charles Dickens’ story by Neil Bartlett
WHEN: December 1-January 1. Performances are Tuesday through Sundays
WHERE: The Shakespeare Theatre’s Main Stage – the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre , 36 Madison Avenue, Madison.
For tickets or more information, call 973.408.5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey concludes its 49th season with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett. This unique and ingenious production features a cast of nine actors playing more than 50 roles, including some of literature’s most beloved characters.
Shakespeare Theatre’s Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs. “When I came across this wonderful new adaption, it made my director’s pulse quicken. It’s a director’s dream with its infinite opportunities for inventiveness,” said Ms. Monte.
Bartlett’s unusual adaptation finds the mean-spirited miser Ebenezer Scrooge (Shakespeare Theatre veteran Philip Goodwin, above right) alone and unloved in his cold house on Christmas Eve. Mired in his irascible and rigid ways, his very name synonymous with greed and misanthropy, Scrooge’s last chance for redemption lies in the spectral hands of his dead business partner and three holiday spirits.
Originally created for the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in England, Bartlett’s A Christmas Carol contains only Dickens’ own words. “I wanted to do it using Dickens’ words, and nothing but,” wrote Bartlett. “Dickens himself prompted this decision; after all, he wrote the story not just to be read, but to be read out loud for an audience. His words don’t describe; they enact.” In addition, Bartlett has included spoken and sung Victorian carols delivered a cappella throughout the play.
When The Shakespeare Theatre presented the East Coast premiere of Neil Bartlett's unique and inventive adaptation of A Christmas Carol in 2007, audiences were thrilled by its ingenious new approach to this timeless holiday tale, and by how profoundly it captured the true essence of the original novel. With a cast of only nine actors, Ms. Monte will create a new incarnation of her acclaimed production with a totally redesigned visual landscape to help conjure up this delightful, funny, haunted and haunting morality tale, that in the end, is always beautifully touching.