Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Curtain Falls on Dickens (and Obama)

The last curtain falls this afternoon, Dec. 31, on A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theater. It's a great new production, which makes me happy in general, but also for McCarter and the director Adam Immerwahr. Adam was the director of our Onstage community theater group for four years.

The production features a more diverse cast, and a large contingent of community members who mingle with the crowd before the show in period costumes, then appear in group scenes on stage. Ebenezer and the ghosts speak in less grand, echoey tones of voice than in the previous production, more everyday, bringing them closer to people we may know in our own lives.

How profound the contrast this year, between Ebenezer's transformation and the transformation about to occur in Washington, where kindness, generosity of spirit, and empathy are about to be sent packing. In the arts, we're so regularly exposed to happy endings, where good wins out, that we take for granted that the world will work that way, too. How hard the world is working to prove otherwise.

Meanwhile, I ran into the one and only original manuscript of A Christmas Carol on display at the Morgan Library and Museum in NY.

Dickens wrote the story quickly, but wasn't afraid to revise and hone the language.

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