Posts Tagged A christmas carol

VISIT THE GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO (AND CHRISTMAS!)

VISIT THE GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO (AND CHRISTMAS) WITH THE MYSTERIOUS OLD RADIO LISTENING SOCIETY’S RECREATION OF THE 1939 BROADCAST OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL 

Gathering around the radio to listen Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was a treasured annual tradition from the 1930s to 1950s. This year, Park Square Theatre and the Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society will present recreation of the 1939 Mercury Theatre broadcast of this holiday masterpiece, along with an interactive reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas, in which children – of all ages – are invited to create the sound effects, or foley as they call it in radio lingo. THE 1939 MERCURY THEATRE ON THE AIR – A CHRISTMAS CAROL will be shared on Zoom Dec 11, 12 and 13 and will be available for streaming through December. Dim the lights and join your loved ones, near or far, to tune in to the true meaning of Christmas. 

Adults will appreciate A Christmas Carol for its redemptive themes, while children are captivated by the familiar holiday trappings and the opportunity to be gently scared by a reassuring ghost story,” says Society company member Joshua English Scrimshaw. Ghost stories are traditional around the holiday time in England,” chimes in fellow company member Eric Webster. This story, howevercomes with the powerful feelgood ending of redemption. It’s about hope that things can change  people and circumstances, Webster added. “We all need hope that things can change for the better.

Three white men in Santa hats and Christmas sweaters holding vintage records.

The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society is left to right: Eric Webster, Joshua English Scrimshaw, and Tim Uren.

Since taking what was a monthly on-stage residency to Zoom, the group has performed adaptations ranging from Agatha Christie to Bram Stokerrecreating lost radio episodes (Scrimshaw’s Peter Lorre impression is spot on) and even writing their own original scripts. Until now, these shows have been audioonly radio dramas for the audience to listen to, but A CHRISTMAS CAROL takes it a step farther. “This will be us in our homes performing on zoom,” says Webster. “We do all the characters and all the foley and then edit it together. You’ll be able to watch us perform it, not just hear the audio of our performance.” 

As for why to tackle Christmas Carol, Webster exclaims, “It’s right up our alley! It’s a ghost story, and fits into our wheelhouse of suspense, crime and horror stories from the golden age of radioPlus, The Mercury Theater and Lionel Barrymore’s performance of Scrooge was  fantastic, and Orson Welles’s adaptation is one of the best ever done. 

Of course, some modifications will be made to adapt and translate the 1939 radio version to a 2020 Zoom production. For example, “Music – we don’t have a full orchestra like they had,” says Webster. “We have four actors playing all the parts, where they had one actor per character.  Other than that, we are staying as true as possible to the original broadcast.” And one more important thing, notes Scrimshaw, “for the sake of both variety and parity, we cast Shanan Custer in a number of roles traditionally played by men.” 

As Park Square enters a partnership with SteppingStone Theatre for Youth, the theatre wanted to bring a family element to the production. Webster has already released a video teaching young people (or anyone who wants to join in the fun) how to create a range of sound effects from “a clatter” to “reindeer on roof” using common household items. Ticket holders will receive a script with cues, and before each zoom performance, the company will perform a live reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas with prompts for the audience to use their new skills to create the sound effects themselves.  

As for how the audience can expect to feel after the show, Webster is enthusiastic. “Joyful!  Hopeful! You can’t help to examine your own life after A CHRISTMAS CAROL, to check in to make sure you are holding on to what really matters in life – family and friends. That’s the true spirit of Christmas. 

Members of The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society include local theatrical favorites: Eric Webster (Shade’s Brigade), Shanan Custer (2 Sugars, Room for Cream), Joshua English Scrimshaw (Comedy Suitcase) and Tim Uren (Ghoulish Delights). Online technical support by Aaron Fiskradatz. 

TICKET PRICES: All Tickets $30. Intended for a single-household. Tickets are on sale at www.parksquaretheatre.org 

The ticket office is temporarily closed due to corona virus. Please email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org with questions. 

CALENDAR INFORMATION: 
Dec. 11, 12 at 7:30 pm, Dec 13 at 2:00 pm
Streaming on Park Square’s website Dec 14- Jan 3. 

PHOTOS : download at https://parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/ 

PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. www.parksquaretheatre.org 

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