Ok, so as we’ve learned, apparently a theatre company needs to produce “A Christmas Carol” once a year if its going to make any money for the rest of its season. But whose to say that “A Christmas Carol” can’t be fun, exciting and unusual in its own right? Stepping away from the the family oriented period classic, allow me to introduce “Dickens: The Unparalleled Necromancer” (I know, right!?) presented by the Abrons Arts Center. This version of the classic Christmas Ghost story uses images from 35 different film versions of the story which are integrated into the live theatrical performance. If there are certain stories that are known money makers for theaters where lies the harm in giving them a little spin? As theater artists our obligation lies in re-imagining, re-envisioning and remaking old stories for a modern audience.
“A Christmas Carol” clearly holds a place near and dear in many peoples hearts every year many people travel to theaters to see performances of it or break out the old film versions why break the mold? Touching “A Christmas Carol” does feel like a bit of a theatrical third rail. Taking a story loved by so many and altering it from its original form is risky; there, acknowledged, moving on. What is more exciting than seeing a story that you know by heart and love to death? What about seeing a passionate new take on a story that you love, a take that is different from anything you ever seen. If we in the theatre have to call upon these certain treasured pieces of theatre to make a little money and if we are in the business of rick taking as much as we say we are then why shouldn’t we remake the “A Christmas Carol.” Whereas I could stay home, pop some corn and watch George C. Scott tear it up as Scrouge, “Dickens: The Unparalleled Necromancer,” is something I wouldn’t miss seeing just for the experience. Perhaps it will be a fantastic flop but if people didn’t think out of the box on these sorts of things we’d still be doing Shakespeare in tights. If we’re really risk takers then its time we “personed” up and took some risk, especially on the dearly beloved stuff. Discover what people have been missing and then let ’em have it.