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L.A. Beat

Christmas with the classics as Dickens Meets Shakespeare

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Celebrate the Christmas season with Dickens Meets Shakespeare, Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. at Casa.(L-R); Heather Ladd, Jeff Graham and Kristine Alexander are getting into the Christmas spirit with Shakespeare Meets Dickens, Dec. 16 at Casa. photo by Richard Amery
 The show features a strong cast of performers, performing Charles Dickens’ “ A Christmas Carol,” followed by songs, sonnets and Shakespeare.
“The evening will begin with a performance of Charles Dickens ‘ A Christmas Carol’ and Christmas carols from the Victorian period,” said Shakespeare In The park co-ordinator Kate Connolly.
“It will be followed by all things Shakespeare including scenes, songs and sonnets,” she added.

A Christmas Carol will be performed by a lot of familiar faces from Shakespeare in the park including Andrew Legg and Dj Gellatly, who have directed Shakespeare in the Park productions and Derek Stevenson who has performed with the local Shakespeare troupe.

 It will also feature veterans from community theatre like Shelley David and Jeff Graham and some familiar faces from the University of Lethbridge’s drama productions.
“We have a lot of directors, actors and board members from community theatre performing,” Connolly said.

“ A Christmas Carol” is widely regarded as a Christmas classic, but it is more than that.
“Dickens wrote the stories in the 1840s. It was a time known as the Hungry ’40s because of an economic slump and the rising food prices which lead to a huge rise in poverty especially in London,” Connolly said.
“Dickens wrote  ‘A Christmas Carol’ to draw attention to the plight of the urban poor. There’s Scrooge, the grasping miser who learns to true meaning of Christmas through the intervention of three ghosts of Past, Present and Future. It also includes Bob Cratchett and his family including Tiny Tim, a young crippled boy who has this amazing love for all humanity,” she continued.
Megan Wittig, the music director of the musical portion of the evening will be singing and is coaching several performers including Matt Cameron, Chris Peterson, Brenton Taylor and Erica Barr.
Jeneva Moxon, who was stage manager for this summer’s production of Romeo and Juliet will be directing Shakespeare Meets Dickens.

“I’m looking forward to the whole experience. When the cast is so talented, I don’t have to do much, just sit back and  let them go,” Moxon said.
“It‘s about  the spirit of Christmas,” enthused Heather Ladd, who plays several characters in A Christmas Carol.
“I’m a historian so I enjoy bringing the story to life,“ said Kristine Alexander.

“It’s a very human story that is perfect for a live reading in front of an audience,” Alexander continued.
“There is a lot of wordplay, but there is also a lot of pathos,” Alexander said.
“I’m Bob Cratchett, the simple man who represents the whole Christmas spirit,” said Jeff Graham.

“But it is a lot more than just about Scrooge getting scared by three ghosts,” Graham said.
“It is an excuse to take some fun characters and have a great time with them. It has to be fun or I don’t want to do it,” Graham said.

Connolly promised a fun evening of stories and song.
“There will be audience participation singing the Christmas Carols and costumes from the Elizabethan and Victorian eras will be encouraged,” Connolly said.
“And there will be traditional Tudor and Victorian food an a licensed bar. A jolly celebration is guaranteed, Connolly promised.
“Shakespeare meets Dickens runs in the ATB Community Room at Casa at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 or $25 for two . They are available at Casa.

A version of this story appears in the Dec. 7, 2016 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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