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Holiday tradition continues: Lakeside Community Theatre hopes to deliver Christmas with a twist with new take on a Dicken's classic
Last week marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Friends, neighbors and countrymen morphed into snarling linebackers trying to get their hands on the latest holiday gadget-forgoing niceties and manners, trading them in for form tackles and lack of sleep.
But before you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season and all hell breaks loose in the department store, take a breath and take some time to relax with loved ones by visiting the local theater.
"The Holiday season is in full swing and now is a great time to go out and enjoy a fun show," said Benjamin Keegan Arnold, director of the theater's Christmas production. "Lakeside has transformed itself into a winter wonderland with Christmas decorations dripping from every nook and cranny."
In that spirit, the theater has fine tuned their production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." The family-friendly performance began production in late October and opens Friday, running through Dec. 22.
Although the play entertains the same general story line, prepare for the unexpected, Arnold said.
"This isn't your conventional Christmas show," Arnold said. "In 'Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge,' Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future - all played by one sassy actress who can pull them all off - get lost through the original 'A Christmas Carol' story."
In Lakeside's take on the Durang version, Mrs. Bob Cratchit is fed up with her life and can't stand her hungry children and her overly nice husband. Young Scrooge's typical exclamations of "Bah, humbug!" are transformed into an unofficial "kind of seasonal Tourette's Syndrome."
The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future are all played by a multi-talented woman with enough attitude to make Scrooge's journey a little more interesting.
The ghosts try to show Scrooge his past, present and future in order to change him. However, through malfunctioning magic, they find themselves transported to the wrong time and place, according to its website. She tries to take Scrooge back to see his old employers, the Fezziwigs-"always an audience favorite," Arnold said-but instead she and Scrooge keep appearing in the present at the Cratchit's pathetic home.
A minor character in the Dickens' original takes center stage and Mrs. Bob Cratchit is no longer loving and long suffering, instead she is in a rage, according to its website. She's sick of Tiny Tim, hates twenty other children-whom she has confined to the root cellar. Her desire, now, is to get drunk and jump off London Bridge, a big twist on the original Christmas favorite. To make matters worse, Scrooge and Mrs. Bob seem to be kindred souls falling in love.
As the ghost loses more control, the plot morphs into parodies of "Oliver Twist," "The Gift of the Magi" and "It's a Wonderful Life."
"The play is silly, goofy, weird, over the top and all around just crazy," Arnold said. "It's a very fun play that encompasses all of Christmas."
The cast features Leanna Nash as Mrs. Bob Cratchit, Paul Niles as Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge, Christina Neal as The Ghost, and Juan Perez as both Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. There's an amazing ensemble featuring Bryttni Hardin, Aaron Schultz, Jacob Barnes, Shane Morgan, and Elise Knox. Also featured are three newcomers to the stage, Lenny Monsterberg, Winchester Worthington IV, and Carl.
"This is LCT's fourth year in a row to provide the community with a Christmas show, and we are so excited to have members of our community come out and celebrate the season with us," said Kari Schouveller, president of the theater's board of directors.