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November 2009

Release Date: Nov. 2, 2009ASU Logo

ASU Holiday Dinner Theatre to Mash Up ‘A Christmas Carol’

Charles Dickens probably never envisioned the version of “A Christmas Carol” planned for the Arts At ASU’s Holiday Dinner Theatre Nov. 12-15 and 19-21 in the Angelo State University Modular Theatre.

“The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of A Christmas Carol,” was written by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin, Jr., and is directed by James Worley. Show times will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 12-14 and 19-21, with dinner served at 7 p.m. A matinee performance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, with dinner served at 1 p.m. The Modular Theatre is located in the Carr Education-Fine Arts Building (EFA), 2602 Dena Drive.

The play finds the ladies of the guild turning Dickens’ Christmas classic upside down in their stage version of the beloved holiday tale. The familiar characters from the often-performed story are there along with some hilarious additions. They add some audience participation while trying to deal with an intrusive public address system and doing two original, show-stopping songs.

“It’s quite fun,” Worley said. “They tell the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley and the three ghosts, but they discover the people portraying these characters don’t have the longest attention span. They have their own little problems and idiosyncrasies. The lady playing Scrooge is something of the grand dame of their dramatic society, so she tends to chew the scenery quiet freely.”

The production features Jamie Westfall as Mrs. Reece, Jason Worthington as Gordon, Kenedi Doefer as Thelma, Meghan Blake as Felicity, Katherine Heaney as Mercedes, and Ty Matlock and Amber Horton as offstage voices.

Technical director is Matt Smith, who also designed the set and lighting. Costume designer is Eldra Sanford, stage manager is Suzanne Smith and Sarah Stewart is the assistant stage manager.

Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” tells the story of a miser in 19th-century London and his journey from penny pincher to generous benefactor with help from four ghosts.

The ASU production is based on townswomen’s guilds located throughout England. The dramatic societies put on plays, sometimes with unintentionally hilarious results.

“This particular townswomen’s guild puts on a production of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ but it’s fairly disorganized,” Worley said. “That opens up a whole bunch of real comic possibilities.”

The authors have about four of these plays out there,” he added. “This one is for Christmas and the others equally show the women trying to mount productions and meeting with all kinds of misadventures as they do so.”

The play is suitable for the whole family, Worley said, even though a few moments drift slightly toward the risqu�. The cast has been studying examples of British humor, such as “Monty Python” and “Fawlty Towers,” to get acquainted with the Brits’ dry humor and broad characterizations.

“Because it’s a women’s guild, the only man in the show is their stage manager,” Worley said. “In a couple of instances, they have him portraying a female character, Mrs. Cratchit. At one point, he says, ‘I hear Tiny Tim’s crutch on the stairs.’ He puts his hand behind one ear and Tiny Tim enters from the other side. It’s a little melodramatic, but basically portrays in a lighthearted and loving way what goes on even in bad community theatre, where people have good hearts but not a lot of talent.”

Tickets are $12.50 for ASU students and activity card holders, $15 for non-ASU students and Arts@ASU subscribers and $20 general admission. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 942-2000 weekdays between 2-6 p.m. For more information about the production and cast, call 942-2085.

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