ELKO – Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas story is getting a fresh interpretation when Great Basin College presents “A Christmas Carol.”
The audience will be transported through different time periods as Ebenezer Scrooge is taken on a journey to his past, present and future to learn the true meaning of Christmas.
Inspired by the avant-garde Polish director Tadeusz Kantor and her mentor Bill Bowers, who studied with mime Marcel Marceu, director Amber Adeline Brown said she wanted “to share some of those techniques that I learned from him with the cast.”
“I think theater is about passing on, very ritualistic.”
“[Bowers] taught me a lot,” Brown said. “One of the things that he said was that mime is a cerebral art form and can get lost if it’s not passed on.”
Brown said she was also excited to direct a different version of “A Christmas Carol” and review the history of the story and how it’s been retold for generations.
‘The industrial revolution has continued and now it’s more about technology,” Brown said. “So I wanted to explore the different time periods in the terms of multi-media technology: the projected image, sound and then the physical body of the performer.”
Brown said she had the actors try some new methods to interpret their characters.
“We focus on ensemble work, a little bit of devising [and] creating the character based off of different things that inspired [them] about that period or that specific character,” Brown said. “It doesn’t come from the script, but research elsewhere.”
John Patrick Rice, who plays Ebenezer Scrooge, said he thought Brown, who earned her master’s of fine arts degree in theater, was a good fit for the theater program.
“She brings a wonderfully fresh perspective to the GBC theater program,” he said.
Caylin Meyer plays a couple of characters, including Tiny Tim and a little boy, who also narrates the story along with Rosalynn Eardley.
“We have two sides of the same coin working here,” Meyer said. “I call the narrator my partner in crime.”
Meyer said she’s had “tons of fun” using mime because of the opportunity to act more expressively on stage.
“It allows everything to be so expressive with the body that I’ve never previously had to do before,” Meyer said.
Zachary Montgomery, who performed in this fall’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” said he enjoyed the new version of “A Christmas Carol” because of its unique take on the classic.
“I like stories that are very self-aware, to say the least, they will purposefully break the fourth wall,” Montgomery said.
“I really like the direction that this interpretation is taking … It definitely belongs on the stage,” said Montgomery, who plays several parts, including Scrooge’s nephew. “It’s really different than anything I’ve done, personally.”
Rice said the production is a “short and sweet adaptation – perfect for all ages.”
Performances run Dec. 5-8 starting at 7 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $5 per person, general admission, and advance tickets can be purchased at the Controller’s Office in Berg Hall.