When illness kept me from opening night of Trinity Rep’s “A Christmas Carol”, I was overjoyed to learn that a could stream a live production of the Christmas Classic.
Rhode Islanders love traditions, and mine is seeing every production of the show since the beginning. When Trinity announced that they were screening the show so that people who could not make it to the theatre for whatever reason, could see it in the comfort of their own home, I was beyond thrilled. Some performances were screened live. This week I watched the Nov. 13 live production, which will be available through January 16. Every year I mouthed the familiar lines: “Are there no prisons?
Are there no workhouses?” and delighted at Mr. Fezziwig, this year brilliantly played by Richard Donelly. There was singing and dancing, and a big turkey and snow. No flying ghosts or trap doors, but lots of movement as actors smoothly changed props for dozens of scenes. It was a dark and a bright Christmas Carol, set against a background of stained glass windows, shaken by lightning and thunder, that to me meant hope and redemption. The child actors, many performing before a live audience for the first time, were a couple of years older because of COVID restrictions, but they were still children, from the crippled Tiny Tim to the robust turkey boy. Veteran actor Ricardo Pitts-Wiley was a perfect Marley, showing more depth to the character than I remember in other productions. And then there is Timothy Crowe, the actor’s actor, who has been performing at Trinity for 50 years.
Nobody plays Scrooge like this man! Trinity veterans like Stephen Thorne and Richard Donelly appeared in a variety of roles, along with some bright new young faces.
Director Joe Wilson Jr. has re-imagined the play, emphasizing the basics, while introducing new elements. The broom dance at Fezziwig’s party was a delight.
Watching the production on the small screen will never be as good as being there to see the smiles on the kids in the audience and hear their laughter, but it is a great opportunity to enjoy theatre, with the added benefit of some meaningful closeups. Trinity’s latest production of “A Christmas Carol” is a must-see. A friend of mine has reserved it for Christmas Eve, and others can now enjoy it into January. Go on line at TrinityRep.com to reserve your date with Ebenezer.
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