This is a reprint of my remarks about “A Christmas Carol” at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater presented in the historic Pabst Theater during the 2019 – 2020 season. This originally appeared on my Facebook timeline November 30, 2019.
Wow, it barely feels like a year since our last visit to Mr. Scrooge. But this past week I attended a preview presentation of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s 44th production of “A Christmas Carol”. And again this year, the Rep will be featuring artistic director Mark Clements’ adaptation of the Charles Dickens story. And Mr. Clements is also directing, so we will get a good look at how he interprets the story.
No, the story hasn’t changed…but it’s never really the same every time either. Each adaptation, each director, each set, and each cast brings out different views that lay on new subtleties for the rest of us to savor. And this year’s production is no different.
We have smoke and smog and bright lights, ensemble singing and foul, scary sounds, happy conversations and bah humbug mutterings, elegant interiors and the crowded rambling streets of London. And what a London it is, ever changing, ever twisting, and cleverly represented on sets continually moving on turntables to change our sense of place while we remain in place. At once and ever, a remarkable spectacle. AND it snows in the Pabst Theater!
And of course we have the transformation of Mr. Scrooge…through the endeavors of his community, both real and ephemeral. We have the interventions of the Ghost of Mr. Marley and the three Ghosts of Christmas who finally make the progress than his family and friends attempt but never master. But these good people of London engage him on their own terms and after being rebuffed, they go about celebrating life in their own ways and with their own means…but always leaving the door open…and welcoming him with open hearts and open arms when he finally senses the life that he’s cast aside.
A universal story…an epic happy ending.
Yes, I know we’ve all seen at least one presentation of “A Christmas Carol” at some point in our lives. But this is live theater and truly magical and believe me, the environs of the Pabst Theater is just the place to see it! It runs through December 24th, 2019 and don’t wait to get tickets! AND it snows in the Pabst Theater!
And just one strange interlude for Mark Clements: find another vehicle or two to bring Mark Corkins back to Milwaukee, he is sorely missed in these quarters!