God bless us, everyone: A Christmas Carol in April

Teresa Taylor — Staff Writer

The Concise Christmas Carol, adapted by D. D. Delaney from the Charles Dickens classic will be performed at 7:00 p.m. on April 7, 8, and 9 in the 4th Avenue Theatre under the direction of Tommy Shin.

David Skinner, a senior theatre major, plays more than a dozen characters in the one-man-show. He differentiates characters by shifting his demeanor and style. For example, Ebenezer Scrooge hunches and adopts a crotchety, disgruntled voice, and the ghosts speak airily. 

In the theatre deparment, theatre majors complete a capstone project in their final semester, and A Concise Christmas Carol serves as both Skinner’s and Hayden Houtsma’s. While Skinner concentrated on acting, given his acting and directing emphasis, Houtsma did the lighting design, given his technical theatre emphasis.

“I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and try something new to challenge and push myself,” Skinner said. “It’s so different from everything else because you don’t have anyone else to play off of. You don’t have anyone to bounce energy back and forth with.” 

Throughout the process, Skinner and Houtsma received feedback from advisors Teresa Ter Haar and Laura Anderson 

Contributed Photo

At the beginning of A Concise Christmas Carol, the narrator sits by a fireplace, reading the production’s namesake novel.

“From that moment on, I am onstage the entire time,” Skinner, who changes costume on stage, said.

As for the lighting design, Houtsma said, “The lights start cold and gloomy – light blue and some gray – and over time, it increasingly gets brighter and more colorful.”

Houtsma incorporates purples and pinks throughout the show to create a cheerful atmosphere.

“Lighting sets the mood. It’s something that can make or break a show,” Houtsma said. “Each color can pull a different emotion or feeling from the audience. Nowadays, you can’t have theater without lighting.” 

The lighting marks Scrooge’s journey from, well, a scrooge, to joyous and charitable man.

“What I really wanted to pull out of Christmas Carol was less of ‘Be nice on Christmas’ and more of finding joy in the little things in life,” Skinner said. 

“I am here. I do have time before me. I can change things,” Skinner said as a paraphrase of Scrooge’s epiphany. “He’s finding joy in all the things that escaped him before.”

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