A reminder to be grateful
Three ghosts visit Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” from their own magical world — a world of the past, present and future. To portray this separation between reality and the ghost-world in a theater, Scrooge will be visited by the three ghosts in their puppet form in the University of Idaho’s rendition of the classic play.
Michael Brandt, a first year in the masters of fine arts program at University of Idaho, is the props master for the show. He and UI theater professor Stephanie Miller, the scenic designer, were in charge of designing, carving and painting the new wooden puppets. The Ghost of Christmas Future is the same dark, towering puppet that was used in the last year’s production.
All the music in the production is live with no help from recordings. Kadin McGreevy, an assistant director for the show and a junior theater student, said a band plays at the beginning and middle of the show, on top of other special sound effects throughout the show. Otherwise, the live music is played on the fiddle by Theatre Arts graduate student, Dan Poppen.
“Dan plays whatever suits the moment,” McGreevy said. “He knows the songs but every night, he finds something new to highlight.”
Poppen is the Master of Ceremonies during the show. The MC is the narrator and doesn’t leave the stage often throughout the production, but observes the show with the rest of the audience.
This year is the second consecutive year the UI theater department has put on “A Christmas Carol” is being produced at UI, and some think it is becoming a holiday tradition. Although many people saw the show last year, or have seen it in some form, the director, David Lee-Painter, has made it a goal to improve the show each year.
“Not many people are visited by spirits on Christmas,” McGreevy said. “But the context really resonates for everyone. It offers perspective into the perspective of being a human.”
The show this year is being produced by the UI Theater Department and the Idaho Repertory Theater. There have been many changes made to the set and design to make this production unique. Each year the show is displayed differently because different talent is showcased. The show is expected to return next Christmas season as well.
McGreevy said the show is worthy of tradition because it contains an important and universal message that can be relevant to nearly everyone.
“We are all Scrooge in some way,” McGreevy said, “We’re not all as greedy or extremely ‘bah-humbug’ about something or other, but it is a story of retribution of perspective of where you are in your life.”
Where: The Hartung Theater
When: Dec. 4-6, 11, 13, 18-20 at 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 7 & 14 at 2 p.m.
Cost: The show is free for UI students with university ID
General admission is $15
Alexia Neal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org