Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, will come to life on the stage at Theatre 44 this weekend with two performances on Saturday, November 18, and Sunday, November 19.
The costumed, script-in-hand production, directed by Deb Hunt and featuring Craig Brealey as Ebenezer Scrooge and Nhalla Tavernas as Tiny Tim, promises to thrill and captivate audiences with its portrayal of Scrooge’s transformation and the true meaning of Christmas.
After a brief rehearsal period, the production received its final touches this week. Ms Hunt expressed to the Barrier Truth that audiences will feel immediately transported to the Victorian London setting of the play.
“There’s nothing that a director likes more than seeing people on stage bring characters to life. It stops just being words on a page, and it becomes a real live action happening in front of you and a story that unfolds as you’re watching it. It’s been an absolute joy to direct,” she said.
“All of the cast have managed to find the dramatic purpose of their character. They’ve brought them to life. I’m full of admiration for them being able to bring this to life and you can see the joy they’re having in it. I was watching the rehearsal on Tuesday, and it reached the point where I forgot to take notes because I was so enjoying just watching what they were doing.
“The thing about Dickens is that his characters are big and they’re bold and so you must grab them and almost run with them. That’s what everybody in the cast is doing. They’re having such fun on stage. The other thing that I am blown away by is what Armando Licul can do with sound, lighting, and special effects. It looks magical on stage. I think that the audience will be in for a few surprises.”
Ms Hunt says the fact it’s a script-in-hand performance won’t take away from the experience of watching the play, inviting audience members to allow themselves to be drawn to the storytelling and the way the cast takes control of the classic story in their own way.
“Everybody on stage is carrying a script, but they’re still 100 per cent performing the play and bringing it to life. It’s not just a reading, it’s a performance,” she explains.
“It just means that people didn’t have to learn all the lines, but you will very quickly forget that people are carrying their scripts because they’re in costume, we’ve got full lights, full sound, full special effects, and it’s a cracking performance.
“I think it’s one of those productions that it’s heartwarming, but it’s also moving, and at the end of it, it’s uplifting. I’m hoping that people will, if they want to, join us with singing some carols at the end. But I hope they will just enjoy the story because it’s such a great story and I think that’s what we’re focusing on. We’re focusing on telling the story through these larger-than-life characters.”
A Christmas Carol will be performed at Theatre 44 (189 Wills St) on Saturday, November 18 at 7.30pm and Sunday, November 19 at 2pm. Tickets for each show are priced at $10 for children and concessions, and $20 for adults. To pre-purchase tickets, visit https://bit.ly/3sA2qN8 or call Deb Hunt on 0450 169 697.