| 03.18.2018

Growth and goodwill


The University of Idaho Theater Department first performed Charles Dickens” “A Christmas Carol” three years ago, and the play has been an annual event since.

Daniel Lee-Painter, who has directed the performance all three years, said the first year the show was held it was performed as a small stage reading.

Since then, Lee-Painter said it has grown to be a much larger and more developed performance that has come to include features like puppets.

Lee-Painter said “A Christmas Carol” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3-6, 10, and 12 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 5-6 and 12-13 at the Hartung Theater.

The performance is free for UI students, $15 for adults, $10 for faculty, staff and seniors and $5 for children 12 and under.

In addition to the UI performance, Lee-Painter said the play is also performed at a matinee where local middle school students from all around the area are bussed in and are able to see the play.

Although it can be challenging to put on the same play for multiple consecutive years, Lee-Painter said his goal has been to consistently bring something new to each performance.

“I don”t want to fit it into any kind of mold,” Lee-Painter said. “(It”s) a wonderful challenge.”

Lee-Painter said they try to use their knowledge of previous performances to improve the show and make it a fresh play every year.

Daniel Haley, a UI graduate who has played Ebenezer Scrooge for two years, said the opportunity to play the same character multiple times has benefits as well.

“(The) benefit of playing a character before is finding different solutions to the same challenges,” Haley said.

David Lee-Painter | Courtesy
Daniel Haley as Ebenezer Scrooge cowers on stage in the presence of one of the many ghosts who are haunting him.

After three years of producing the play, Haley said he thinks UI wants to make a tradition out of the performance.

Haley said the play serves as a good reminder and an important call to action that gives individuals a chance to reflect on their own lives and evaluate how they could improve.

“Every time I read it, I learn new things,” Haley said.

Haley said the cast is also consistently focusing on ways to improve. Throughout the development of this year”s play, they primarily asked themselves one question: “”Is this the best way to produce this play?””

In addition to working on improving the nuances of the play, Kadin McGreevy, a UI student and co-director, said the cast and crew also strive to make the play as coherent and relatable as possible.

“We try to tell the best, the clearest story,” McGreevy said.

McGreevy said not only can the play provide people with a new perspective, but it can also provide them with hope.

McGreevy said “A Christmas Carol” is also a classic work that remains relevant in contemporary society.

“The play invites you to imagine a time that isn”t yours,” McGreevy said.

McGreevy said his favorite part of the show is when Scrooge sees his grave because it is the moment when the character loses all hope.

Although it is a tragic scene, McGreevy said the best part about that moment is after seeing his grave, Scrooge wakes up and realizes he still has the chance to change.

“It is the most human moment, and gives me hope,” said McGreevy.

Katie Colson  can be reached at  arg-arts@uidaho.edu  or on Twitter @katiecolson007

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