"A Christmas Carol" has been produced at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis for more than 35 years. This is their big show with all the bells and whistles, dancing, drama, and theatrics, of course. The story, written by Charles Dickens in 1843, describes London on the eve of Christmas. Carolers walk the streets. Women come to the door with requests to help the poor. The rich, like Scrooge, hoard their wealth. The poor are sent out into the streets with no one to help them and nowhere to go. Dickens brought to light the darkness of society.
So, why are we drawn to this story when it has so many dark images? It's because it offers light and hope. Add that to the outstanding talents that occupy the Guthrie Theater, and you have a night filled with magic and wonder. The current stage adaptation was written by Crispin Whittell, who lives and works in England, and is directed by Joe Dowling, who has been with the Guthrie Theater for over 35 years. This is theater at it's height. J.C. Cutler, who plays Ebenezer Scrooge, embodies the character in every word and action. Through his gestures, stance, and dialogue, we see his transformation from dark and closed-off, to joyous and jumping at the opportunity for a new way of living, a rebirth of his life. The story offers viewers hope that change can happen to even the grimmest of characters and circumstances.
"A Christmas Carol" is performed on the Wurtele Thrust Stage where props, set, and characters appear from above and below with many surprises. However, they can be scary and I would not recommend this show to young children. All other family members - young, old, even teenagers - will be entertained by this show. Click over to my blog www.maryaalgaard.blogspot.com for more reflections on "A Christmas Carol" and photos of a magical night with my four sons. I hope a visit to the Guthrie will become our family tradition, as well.