A Christmas Classic – By Olivia Day

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

“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens is probably one of the most well-known and loved Christmas classics. It embodies everything we love about Christmas: good-will, magic and presents, even ones not always wrapped.

“A Christmas Carol” directed by Tom Creamer at Goodman Theatre has been done for 35 years now, and it is still a joy for anyone lucky enough to purchase a ticket.

A Christmas Carol is about finding the true meaning of Christmas and celebrating it for everything its worth, because it only comes once a year.

The story goes that Scrooge, a mean man who hates Christmas, falls prey to the reality of his past, present, and future when he is visited on Christmas Eve by his old, dead business partner, Jacob Marley, who tells him that he will be visited by three ghosts: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future.

Larry Yando, the actor who plays Scrooge fantastically, captures the mindset of his character. In the first scene with Scrooge in it he is an awful, mean man. He won’t let poor Bob Cratchit put even one more coal in the fire, and he denies, ever so rudely, donating money to charity stating, “Are there no workhouses?”

It is shocking to see the transformation of Scrooge throughout the play—how he slowly becomes a better and better person to the point by the end of the play when he wakes up on Christmas morning and sends a child to bring him the biggest turkey at the butcher to give to his underpaid employee, Bob Cratchit.

It is ideal to note that the most famous line in A Christmas Carol, “God bless us, everyone one of us,” is spoken, by none other than Matthew Abraham, the actor who plays Tiny Tim Cratchit, Bob Cratchit’s crippled son.

When playing a character it is important to really embody what that character is like and what they sound like. Above all, it is important to know, absolutely, what that character’s motivation is. This is done poorly in Belle, the girl Scrooge is in love with, played by Nora Fiffer.

When Fiffer uses an Irish accent to portray Belle’s character it comes on too strong. The accent is too overpowering for the character. It is hard to focus and believe in the love between Belle and Scrooge when Fiffer’s accent is as distracting as it is.

It is pretty easy to interpret “A Christmas Carol.” A mean man is visited by three ghosts and sees the reality of what his life was, is and will be. This, in turn, causes him to change his nature and become a good person, so that he doesn’t end up dead with no one mourning his passing.

More than that though, “A Christmas Carol” teaches about being a genuinely good person. In life, it does not matter how successful you are if you are a bad person.

I believe that The Goodman’s portrayal of “A Christmas Carol” is spot on. It is classic, which is the way A Christmas Carol is meant to be played.

Steve Scott, the director, does a breathtaking job with this show. “A Christmas Carol” is everything you could want in a Christmas special and more. The spirit of Christmas truly comes alive in this play and embodies everything we hold true to our hearts.

Christmas is not about presents, but rather it is about cherishing what we have and being good people. This play is brilliant. I would recommend it to anyone, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas.