Project: Holiday Spirit (update #2)

This past Friday night, Kristin and I went to see the play The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge and came away very impressed. The play was being performed at a small local theatre in north Seattle and consisted of 8 actors playing about a dozen different roles. According to the Playbill, the play is also being performed in several east coast states and England. This was its first showing on the west coast.

The entire play consists of a courtroom trial, taking place on Christmas Eve one year after the events of Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is in the process of suing Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future for a laundry list of crimes including breaking and entering, kidnapping, assault, attempted murder, and emotional and psychological cruelty.

We haven't gone to see a play in ages and this was a nice reminder that just because it's a local theatre doesn't mean that the actors aren't up to snuff. Many of the actors in the play had been on television and starred in numerous other performances, and their experience showed, as each of them were both entertaining and entirely convincing in their portrayals.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Christmas play without a happy ending or a "lesson learned". And there is. At one point in the play the woman who collected money for the poor in the opening of A Christmas Carol was on the stand testifying against Scrooge's greed. His cross-examination (too cheap to hire a lawyer, he represents himself) asks her why she only feels the need to collect money on behalf of the poor one day a year. Surely the taxes he pays all year round do more to feed and shelter them than the little bit she does one night a year? And, along those same lines, why is it his nephew only invites him over for dinner one night a year? What's wrong with the other 364 days a year? Why not even on Ebenezer's birthday?

And so is planted the seeds for argument. Did Scrooge lose his Christmas Spirit? Or is he simply tired of seeing people dust their's off just one day a year?

The play is laugh-out-loud funny and also a bit of a thinker. And it's definitely a nice alternative to seeing a rendition of the original for the umpteenth time. If it's playing near you, I highly recommend seeing it.

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