Theater-by-the-Grove will present Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol,” at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Dec. 7 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 8 on the Waller Hall Mainstage of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Performing Arts Center.
In an adaption by former IUP theater professor Ed Simpson and directed by department chairman Brian Jones, a variety of imaginative elements are added to the popular family story.
The cast has been rehearsing since September to create these characters and imagine how they relate to the central characters, Scrooge and Bob Cratchit, Jons said. It is a classic tale revolving around the redemption of Scrooge’s soul — a Christmas gift from his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley.
When asked about the number and variety of roles in the original novel, Jones said, “We’ve imagined the ensemble of 16 players who perform over 30 roles to be a cross section of people in Dickens’ London. They represent all the various social classes who were drawn to the story when it ran in the London newspapers in 1843.
“I’ve asked the company to examine the difference between Scrooge’s and Cratchit’s relationship with mortality. Through Cratchit’s reaction to Tiny Tim’s death, foretold by the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come, we see how love and compassion for humanity triumphs.”
The skills of local puppeteer James Lydick will be put to good use in this production as well. Many of the characters are performed through the use of large puppets with the spirits also represented by Lydick’s creations.
It is interesting to note that Dickens traveled to Pittsburgh to visit the Western Penitentiary at about the time “A Christmas Carol” was written. He was notoriously interested in spirits and the afterlife and the Penitentiary was notoriously haunted. Therefore, one might conclude that the “uneasy spirits” who appear and haunt Scrooge may be somehow connected to our region through Dickens’ imagination.
Theater-by-the-Grove is produced by the Department of Theater and Dance and the College of Fine Arts. It is funded, in part, by the IUP Student Cooperative Association.
Tickets for “A Christmas Carol” are available now at the Hadley Union Building, located on Pratt Drive of the IUP campus, or by calling The HUB ticket office at (724) 357-1313. Tickets are also available at anytime online at IUPTickets.com. Any seats remaining will be sold at the door starting 45 minutes before curtain.
Tickets are priced at $14 for regular admission, $12 for senior citizens and groups of 15 or more, and $9 with a university I-card.
For more information, contact the Livley Arts at (724) 357-2547 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO: Starring in Theater-by-the-Grove’s production of “A Christmas Carol” from left, are Nicholas Tyson as Scrooge; Grant Hoogstraten as Bob Cratchit; and Alissa Walker as Tiny Tim.