On Nov. 29, the Clarence Brown Theatre debuted the last show of the year with a production of "A Christmas Carol," originally written by Charles Dickens.
The production of the show featured the familiar story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his experience with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. The Clarence Brown Theatre, who has put on "A Christmas Carol" many times before, changed several aspects of it for this year's production.
"They had a lot of new effects this year, it made the show more theatrical," Rachel Mayes, sophomore in animal science, said. "This year, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come wasn't just a giant puppet, and there were more sound effects and even snow, and those (effects) really added to the performance."
Last year's show, which was longer and had an intermission, was more drawn out and more over-produced, Mays said. This year's production was only about an hour and a half long, but still told the full story. Leo Lacamera, junior in theater who played two different characters in the show, both young Ebenezer in Christmas past and a character in the ensemble, said he appreciated the updates to this year's performance.
"They have scrapped the old set that they used (last year) and all the old costumes and put on a completely new production of 'A Christmas Carol' from the ground up," said Lacamera. "I personally really love the story of 'A Christmas Carol.' I think it's a very iconic and universal tale and I think that everybody enjoys it, so I really like that they've taken up a new adaptation this year to keep it fresh."Many new technological characteristics were tied into the ancient, yet classic, story and updated the show. White sheets were attached to the set around the stage and projection screens created the Ghost of Christmas Past, instead of the puppet that was used for the character last year. Lacamera said he liked working the modern trap doors, fog and projections into the age-olvd tale.
"I think it's very interesting to juxtapose the modern technologies and the modern elements of the special effects with the classic story, and it really reinforces the idea of the traditional archetypes and traditional tales and the relevance in modern society," said Lacamera. "It's easy to forget in 'A Christmas Carol' that even though these characters and the Industrial Revolution happened a long time ago, it still has real implications today. The characters and the qualities the story tries to get us to connect with are still relevant, especially now in the trying economic times."
The set proved to be extremely convenient for the narration of the story. Because many characters broke the fourth wall and spoke directly to the audience in narration, the set allowed them to overlook the scenes in which the actors were playing and have the narrators stand almost with the audience in their perspective. Daniel Laforce, freshman in nursing, had never attended a Clarence Brown production before "A Christmas Carol." Laforce said that he really enjoyed his first experience with the show.
"The set really blew my expectations," said Laforce. "I wasn't expecting all the cool effects and all the people popping up from below the stage. The show was definitely different. It had its own unique perspective on it ... its own unique spin and I really liked that."
Lacamera, who has never before performed on the Clarence Brown stage, said that playing two different characters added to his experience as an actor.
"A big aspect of theater and of the 'A Christmas Carol' story is about transformation, it's about going into it one thing and coming out of it as another thing," said Lacamera. "I don't think any story is successful without the characters going through a process of change, and so I like the fact that you can play multiple characters because it really reinforces that transformation on not only a story level within the play but also on a personal level because you can undertake multiple roles."
"A Christmas Carol" will be playing at the Clarence Brown Theatre through Dec. 23. For more information on show times and ticket prices, visit www.clarencebrowntheatre.com.