ALT production revisits classic Dickensian work

Contemporary theater companies have long struggled to make “A Christmas Carol” fresh and engaging.

We all know Scrooge and Tiny Tim and the play’s redemptive ending.

Playwright Doris Baizley adapted the tale by creating a play. A traveling troupe of actors and clowns overflows from an open chest.

“A Christmas Carol,” adapted by Baizley, opens at the Albuquerque Little Theater on Friday, December 3 and takes place on weekends with a final afternoon show on December 24.

“It’s the same,” director Laura Cummins said. “It almost has a circus feel.

“I have always loved the story,” she added.

This “Carol” features the usual cast of characters – Scrooge, his underpaid employee Bob Cratchit and a trio of ghosts.

Author Charles Dickens knew that the Christmas spirit and the culture of contemporary London were incompatible.

Before curtain time, a cranky stage manager and props check the props, finding them shabby and mediocre. But the cast of actors improvises a magical world of imagination. The actors representing Scrooge and Tiny Tim disappear, so, of course, the actors nominate the stage manager to play the old miser, while the accessory boy voluntarily volunteers for the role of Tim.

The troupe make their way through the tale with the Christmas spirits working their magic.

Cummins is a former music teacher who jumped onto the stage 26 years ago because of her love of musicals. She ran the ALT 2020 production of “Beauty and the Beast” which opened one weekend before closing due to COVID. She also directed the Musical Theater Southwest version of “American Idiot”.

This adaptation of the classic story was originally produced and critically acclaimed by the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

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