A&E » Arts

Christmas Carol haunts the BAG

Between Shifts production slated for an eight-show run starting Nov. 24



WHAT: Between Shifts presents A Christmas Carol

WHERE: Brackendale Art Gallery

WHEN: Nov. 25 - 27; Dec. 1 - 4. START TIME IS 7:30 P.M.


Scrooge. Do you know this guy? What a guy. What a crusty, twisted old fart. He can humbug himself right off the side of a mountain. Yeah?

But, you know, it's easy to forget that Ebenezer Scrooge, the misanthropic miser of Charles Dickens's classic tale A Christmas Carol , learns a few things by the end of the tale. He comes around! He becomes less miserly, less of a crotchety old naysayer and saves Tiny Tim's tiny little life.

It's a happy ending that I've now just ruined for those of you who didn't know it, and were planning on seeing Between Shifts' production on the classic tale. Running for eight nights at the Brackendale Art Gallery beginning Thursday, Nov. 24, the celebrated community theatre will tackle the greatest Christmas story ever told (besides Home Alone ).

"It's just a great story of redemption, really," says Carol director Carla Fuhre. "I think a lot of points, just like Shakespeare, they're still relevant today. And, of course, it has a happy ending, which people want at this time of year. It's a lovely tradition too."

Establishing that tradition might have been Dickens's greatest feat as an author. The story was written in 1843 at a time when the Victorian British were feeling nostalgic for the spirited celebrations observed by the Tudors. The Church of England had all but outlawed the yuletide cheer and the holiday had, over the previous centuries, become somber and sobering. With A Christmas Carol , Dickens sought to reconstruct Christmas as a time of generosity and goodwill. A Christmas Carol has been credited as reviving the Christmas spirit in both Britain and the Americas as we view it today.

Published in 1844, the novella became an instant classic. Today, most North Americans have at least an inkling of the infamous plot. It is retold every year in virtually every major city across the Western world. It's been adapted to theatre, opera, and ballet, to Broadway and to film 21 times. Elements of the story have varied for each adaptation, with some focusing on the social commentary, while others have redefined it as a family tale. Others still have given it a spookier, more ghastly twist.

Between Shifts' version is a ghost story. The stage design is Tim Burton-inspired, and while the adaption (written by Fiona Revell Summers in 2009 for Spectral Theatre in Vancouver) stays true to the original, it leans more heavily on the ghostly element.