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Smithfield plans ‘Christmas Carol’

Published 10:39pm Monday, December 9, 2013

“A Christmas Carol” as performed by the Smithfield Little Theatre this month will return to its roots, with about 85 percent of the script being lifted straight from Charles Dickens’ classic tale, its director said.

A former Shakespearean actor, Suffolk resident Julian Bouchard, who is the director, said he wanted to return to the source material.

Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, during a dress rehearsal for Smithfield Little Theatre’s rendition of “A Christmas Carol.” (Photo courtesy of Smithfield Little Theatre)
Ebenezer Scrooge (Mike Willard) is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley (Mike Zeigler), during a dress rehearsal for Smithfield Little Theatre’s rendition of “A Christmas Carol.” (Photo courtesy of Smithfield Little Theatre)

“I had an artistic take on it,” he said. “The main goal was to go back to the original Dickens. I wanted to take a very serious tack, an artistic tack.”

Bouchard said “A Christmas Carol” — Dickens’ tale of how miserly Ebenezer Scrooge comes to see the true meaning of Christmas with the aid of supernatural visions — is “a story of redemption.”

He especially focused on the character Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, who loves Christmas right from the start.

“A lot of versions ham him up, make him kind of a jokester,” Bouchard said. “But I saw Fred as the main source of Scrooge’s redemption.”

Bouchard also said the spirits are “designed to be ethereal and outer-worldly. It’s what you would find on any kind of professional stage.”

He said he believes the presentation will blow the audience out of the water, especially considering the Christmas play for Smithfield Little Theatre is typically considered a small project that is given a smaller budget and less rehearsal time than its main presentations of the year.

“It’s been a wonderful collaborative event,” he said.

A group singing Christmas carols, but not ones that are commonly heard these days, Bouchard said, will provide screen transitions. The tempo of the music in the carols also has been slowed somewhat.

“It makes it sound a little bit creepy, even though it’s a Christmas carol,” he said.

Bouchard, who lives in Chuckatuck, will direct a few Suffolk residents in the cast. Isabella Tucker, a second-grader at Northern Shores Elementary School, will play Melinda Cratchit. Autumn Faith McAlpin, 13, will play Mrs. Fezziwig.

Performances will be held Dec. 12, 13, 14, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and Dec. 14, 15 and 21 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 13 and under and can be purchased at the Smithfield Visitor Center, 319 Main St.; the Christmas Store, 108 Main St.; or by calling the box office at 357-7338 or visiting www.smithfieldlittletheatre.org.

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