‘A Christmas Carol’ gets a twist

Former Ramona man plays Ghost of Christmas Present

By Emily Sorensen

PowPAC, Poway’s Community Theater, is bringing a holiday classic to life with a new twist in its production of “Mr. Scrooge & Mr. Dickens,” running through Sunday, Dec. 18.

“‘Mr. Scrooge & Mr. Dickens’ is a very faithful adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol,’” said playwright and director Charles Carr. “I felt that it was important to maintain as much of Dickens’ original language as possible.”

David Ross shows Mr. Scrooge the true meaning of Christmas as the Ghost of Christmas Present in PowPAC’s presentation of “Mr. Scrooge & Mr. Dickens.” Photo/Ray Flores

Carr’s production remains true to the original story, with one exciting twist, the addition of Mr. Charles Dickens himself on stage, reading sections from his manuscript.

The character of Mr. Dickens comes out and narrates between scenes to create a nice segue that allows scene changes.

“He acts like he weaves a tale,” said Carr.

Not only does Mr. Dickens give a structure to the narration, his presence allows Carr to indulge.

“So rarely do you hear that wonderful Dickensian prose,” said Carr. “He describes what is going on in Scrooge’s mind.”

One of the challenges to writing Mr. Dickens’s character into the script was writing his dialogue.

“I had to create dialogue in Dickensian English from prose where dialogue is implied,” said Carr. “I stayed very true to the book, but added a lot of fun touches and comedic things.”

The show itself is full of production touches, including about 200 sound effects Carr created himself.

“We have scary sounds for Christmas future,” said Carr. “We also have a lot of cool visuals this time. We’re hoping to use a fog machine.”

Though the show is not a musical, there is lots of beautiful background music as well.

Above all, Carr insists this is a family-friendly show filled with real feeling without being sappy.

“There’s nothing wrong with genuine sentimentality,” said Carr. “The audiences in years past have said ‘this is my kind of sentimental.’ It’s not sugar-coated.”

Most of all, according to Carr, the show allows people to discover Dickens’s masterpiece in their own way.

“It’s intelligent, it’s witty, it’s hip, but it also knows how to tug on the heartstrings,” said Carr.

The production features a cast of 25, with many of the actors pulling double-duty in roles. One of these double roles is of special interest to children in the audience, as at the end of the show, David Ross, who portrays the Ghost of Christmas Present, comes out dressed as Santa Claus.

Ross, a former Ramona resident, is longtime editor of the Valley Roadrunner community newspaper in Valley Center. When he lived in Ramona, he was staff writer and entertainment editor of the Ramona Sentinel and editor of the Ramona News. He is the author or two science fiction novels, “The Eighth Rank” and “The Argus Gambit,” both published by St. Martin’s Press.

An award-winning writer, Ross is the 2006 recipient of the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists’ Herbert Lockwood “Woody” Award for humorous writing, and he has received awards for news writing, non-daily writing, dramatic criticism writing, feature writing, arts writing, and spot news writing.

“Mr. Scrooge & Mr. Dickens” runs about an hour and 35 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission, making the length not too long for little audience members.

Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at PowPAC, Poway’s Community Theater, located on the second floor of Lively Center, 13250 Poway Road, Poway. Tickets are $12 general admission and $6 for children under 12.

For reservations, contact the PowPAC box office at 858-679-8085 or email box office@powpac.org.

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Posted by Staff on Dec 6 2011. Filed under Arts/Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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