A Christmas Carol, at the Goodman Theater Continues to bring magic – By Tereza Driehaus

January 7, 2013 in Cindy Bandle Young Critics by Cindy-Bandle-Young-Critics

The timeless tale of A Christmas Carol revolves around an irritable and elderly man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who comes to regret the decisions he has made in life. In the beginning of the production, we see a character whose only goals in life are to work and make money, and he expects others to abide by these goals.  By the end of the play the audience has seen Ebenezer Scrooge go through many stages to become a more holistic character, generous and loving.  The Goodman Theater’s production of the Charles Dickens’s play, adapted by Tom Creamer and directed by Steve Scott, keeps the audience emotionally involved through both intensity and humor.

This production included an outstanding cast of actors and actresses. As the story goes Ebenezer Scrooge is presented throughout the beginning of the play as a feared and troubled man.  Larry Yando plays the part well, causing the audience to dislike his greedy and miserable ways. Another disliked character Jacob Marley, played by Chestnut Seller, causes the audience to quiver when he tells Ebenezer that the life that Ebenezer thinks is so wonderful is actually unfulfilling and immoral.  The three ghosts do a commendable job of helping Ebenezer to understand why he became the man he did and lead him to recognize his affect on people and how this will determine his fate. Nora Fiffer, as The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, created a character  that accurately portrayed eternal doom. The actors and actresses moved easily from scene to scene, flowing together to bring a timeless play to life.

The technical elements of this play create a whimsical or magical feeling.  Scenes during the play that are serious or depressing are reflected through the simplistic props. Yet more noticeably in the festive scenes, the bright and colorful costumes indicated the joy. The well-balanced lighting brings attention to the characters without distracting the audience from the action. It also had a powerful affect when used to create a feeling of happiness or doom.  From lighting the first ghost to decreasing the light for the third ghost the audience always felt a feeling of magic and awe. Overall the use of lights and props added to the story without taking away attention from the action.

One critique I would make regarding this play is that the stage is set up in a way that audience members who were sitting in the balcony had to stand up to see portions of the play. This was distracting for the other audience members.

A Christmas Carol is a timeless story that the Goodman Theater produced in a way that applies to today’s world.  If Charles Dickens were to see this adaptation, he would be pleased that the message has stayed the same. Goodman Theatre is known for their technology work but this production created magic and wonder. I highly recommend this production A Christmas Carol!