Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"A Christmas Carol" Matinee and Lack of Reviews

Grant and Julie performed A Christmas Carol for Two Actors for a matinee audience of about 120 students, teachers, and parents from the Steward School and Goochland Middle School. Those who arrived early got some very personal interaction with the pianist (me) and the chance to make Christmas caol requests. Some of them even got to play percussion on "Little Drummer Boy," a song I only do when there are kids to play drums.
It was an unusual experience to perform for so many people in such a large space. This version of A Christmas Carol is very intimate in its two-actor, highly interactive format, and it was a bit unusual for the actors to adapt to a back row 10 rows back instead of our normal four or five.

We have had the misfortune this year of being told by local media that they would not be reviewing this show because "they'd reviewed the show before." I guess I can understand how people who aren't theatre practitioners wouldn't necessarily understand that a repeat mounting of the same script will yield different results in a different year. But I have a two-fold response to that; first, that The Syringa Tree certainly merited two reviews for two productions with the same actor and most or all of the same staff, and second, that half of the cast of A Christmas Carol is new, creating a very different production.

It also strikes me as the height of ridiculousness that Grant was listed as one of Style Weekly's "Arts 25" in an article that focused largely on what a great gift to the city this adaptation of A Christmas Carol is, but then both major media outlets choose to disregard the show just three months later.

Regardless, the show is perhaps the most wonderful and magical it has ever been this year, with Julie Phillips bringing energy I've seldom seen to the show. Here are a few pictures from yesterday's matinee:
Bob Cratchit endeavors to warm himself by the heat of a candle.
The ghost of Marley disappeares into the mist.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
The Ghost of Christmas Present
The Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come

"Scrooge went to church!"


Dave T said...

One point -- small as it may be -- is that "Syringa" also had a pretty major venue change from a small black box to a much larger three-quarter thrust stage. I still see your point but wanted to put out there what I think may have been the deciding factor.

Andrew Hamm said...

That's not a small point--it's a large point. And a good one. However, in keeping with the Tech/Phantom discussion over at your place, I'm going to argue that a full 50% of the cast being different is at least as important a change as a new venue.