Pin It
Favorite

A choir of Carols 

& & by Sheri Boggs & & & &





Ebeneezer Scrooge, the miserly and irritable protagonist of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, could be diagnosed with a handful of mental illnesses as prescribed by the DSM-IV, the diagnostic handbook and professional bible of psychiatrists, counselors and therapists across the United States. Clearly in the throes of a major depression, with tendencies toward anti-social personality disorder, Scrooge nevertheless emerges from the story as a likable sort of hero who has been healed by visions of his past, present and future. His therapy worked.


How appropriate then that this classic story of redemption should be played out by Express Theatre Northwest, a local theatrical troupe comprised of individuals with mental and physical disabilities but producing shows for all audiences. The company, which offers its productions through SFCC's Spartan Theatre, is four years old and had great success with A Christmas Carol last year.


"We have a lot of the same leads, and we're using a lot of the children we had last year," says Frank Sullivan, founder of Express Theatre Northwest. "It was a great success, which is why we brought it back this year."


Director Joan Malone points out that like Scrooge's poor-but-good-natured clerk Bob Cratchit, Charles Dickens was himself no stranger to adversity.


"Charles Dickens was raised in abject poverty," she says. "At the age of 10, he had to go to work; his father was in debtor's prison. He saw how men and women -- and especially children -- were treated when they had to go to work in the factories and warehouses."


Dickens' gift for writing lifted him out of a future of hard work and early death. He found success as a novelist, but even then, it was while he was struggling with Martin Chuzzlewit that A Christmas Carol came to be.


"Martin Chuzzlewit was failing, and he needed to pay the bills, so he wrote it," says Malone. "He told a story about this horrible old miser, this mean, nasty, hated-by-everybody, no-friend-in-the-world man who sees his past life before his very eyes and changes into a warm and loveable fuzzball of a man."


This adaptation, by Israel Horovitz, follows the novella with one significant difference.


"It follows almost exactly the book, but Israel Horovitz took a liberty with Jacob Marley, who shows up in the first scene in the book," explains Malone. "He said, 'What if I made this man the narrator throughout the play?' So Marley is the narrator through the entire play, and both he and Scrooge have huge parts."


While the play is not a musical, it does have a "soundtrack" of original music written by Doug LaPlante, whose musical The Brain was one of Express Theatre Northwest's first productions and is now being readied for its debut as a mini rock opera in Toronto in 2002.


"When we first did The Brain, the concept of mental illness was difficult, it was experimental in Spokane," says Malone. "Now that we're doing mainstream stuff along with it, people are being really supportive and coming out to see our productions."


Malone finds special relevance in Dickens' story today.


"It's made us all aware that everybody is important in his life, and that you matter. It was first published in 1843, but that message is still so true."





& & & lt;i & A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley plays at SFCC's Spartan Theatre Dec. 14-16 and Dec. 19-22. Performances are at 7:30 pm, with a 2 pm show on Sunday, Dec. 17. Tickets: $10; $5 12 and under. Call: 624-8073. & lt;/i & & lt;/center &

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Masters of 
Eminent Domain
  • Masters of Eminent Domain

    The city relies on a rarely used power to force a property sale — but was forcing the issue really necessary?
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • 'Bigger To-Do List'
  • 'Bigger To-Do List'

    Efforts to include racial distinctions in SPD data stall; plus, Obama stumps for Inslee
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • Q&A: PHIL TYLER
  • Q&A: PHIL TYLER

    Meet the new president of the Spokane NAACP
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Sheri Boggs

  • BOOKS
  • BOOKS

    From puppies to a new James Bond adventure, there are tons of great reads this season
    • Dec 3, 2015
  • Beer and Branding in PDX

    • Sep 15, 2005
  • Nightlife- Jukeboxes of Note

    The Baby Bar 827 W. 1st Ave. * 471-1234 I love the Baby Bar for so many reasons -- the intimacy, the bartenders, the d & eacute;cor... But most of all, I love it for its jukebox. This is no hellhole of Sting/Celine Dion adult contemporary; it's a well
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Felonious Judgment

    A community of hope and restoration can be ours with fair chance hiring
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • A Thin Résumé

    With zero experience in the public policy arena, Donald Trump needs to start listening to those who do have it
    • Jun 9, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Game Changer
  • Game Changer

    Since Condon became mayor, Jan Quintrall has been responsible for some of the biggest changes in the city of Spokane — and some of its biggest controversies
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Teachers and Trauma
  • Teachers and Trauma

    Hillyard kids living in poverty often experience trauma leading to trouble at school, but community leaders have a plan
    • Apr 14, 2016

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation