Submitted by Tracey Cottingham
Lopez Island Community Shakespeare Company Costume Director
Don’t miss the chance to get into the spirit of the holidays. Join the Lopez Island Community Shakespeare Company as it presents a virtual production of “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens and adapted by Richard Carter.
“Bah!” said Scrooge. “Humbug!”
“But the show must go on, no matter the unfortunate times!” said Richard Carter, in June 2020. (This theater quote predates even Dickens.)
When I met with Carter this past summer to discuss possible plays to produce and how all of us could stay safe through the fall theater season, I was amazed to see the twinkle in Carter’s eyes and an enthusiasm I see every year to provide the very best theater experience we can achieve with our small island theater, Community Shakespeare. But there was something more this year influencing Carter, the realization of how the arts are more important than ever during these very challenging times for all of us, and especially for our young actors. Not only did we face challenges with rehearsals, as well as considering how to safely bring the performances to our families and Lopez theater audiences, we also knew there could be a chance we cancel everything part way into our season due to the pandemic. Only for a few minutes did we consider taking a break from our fall theater festival.
“What we do in Community Shakespeare always feels important to me but honestly, it does feel more important now. People seem genuinely surprised and excited we figured out a way to keep going. ‘It’s what’s needed,’ they say. I look forward to hearing their reactions,” Carter exclaimed.
“We had to change our ideas a dozen times as COVID changed all of our lives,” Brian Treece, our technical director, expressed.
CSC has achieved what we weren’t sure was possible: two theater productions! Both are in the old-time radio style of the 1930s with added soundscape, when the joy of listening to the actors heightens the visual imagination. We are all in agreement, the results are spectacular, with “A Christmas Carol,” by Dickens, ready in time for bringing holiday cheer to you and your loved ones, followed closely by “84 Charing Cross Road,” by Helene Hanff, for the New Year, released Dec. 31 at http://communityshakespeare.org/.
Christmas Carol is a 30-minute radio play with visual montage supported with classical prints and etchings, all period music, played on original instrumentation, and, featuring all your favorite Dickens characters.
We all wore the same “can-do-anything” hat we always wear when working with our director and inspiring friend, Carter. They just were differently shaped hats. Rehearsals, for example, took place outdoors in the lovely fall weather.
“I enjoyed just practicing for ‘A Christmas Carol.’ I got a character called ‘The Ghost of Christmas Present,’ and it was an interesting character to try to portray,” shared Josie Luckhurst-Slattery, eighth-grader.