Friday, December 13, 2019

A Christmas Carol—Portland Playhouse—NE Portland


         The Immortal Visionary


     This annual event of Dickens’s immortal classic is adapted and lyrics by Rick Lombardo, music by Anna Lackaff and Lombardo, arranged by Lackoff and directed by Brian Weaver.  It is playing at their space, 602 NE Prescott St. (parking lot 2 blocks N. of the theatre, on 6th), through December 29th.  For more information, go to their site at www.portlandplayhouse.org or call 503-488-5822.

     This is undoubtably one of the most produced stories of all time.  Dickens, himself, enjoyed reading from it to audiences in his time; there was a one-man show with Phillip J. Berns; animated films with voices of Mel Blanc, and Jim Backus (Magoo)—even a C/G version with Jim Carey; musicals; Reader’s Theatre (I even directed one with Russ Fast); futuristic, from Rod Serling, Carol For Another Christmas; and countless Scrooge’s, (with the best being Alastair Sim), including Albert Finney, George C. Scott, Henry Winkler, Sterling Hayden, Michael Caine, Bill Murray…and countless others.

     For the one or two of you that don’t know the story, here is a thumbnail sketch of it:  Scrooge (Michael Mendelson) is a miser, a money-lender by trade, who treats everyone around him like dog-do, even his jolly nephew, Fred (Melissa Mahoney), and his poor clerk, Cratchit (Ben Tissell).  But redemption may be on its way, as the ghost of his old business partner, Marley (Cycerli Ash), warns him of the consequences of continuing in this fashion.  He is to be visited by three spirits (also, all played by Ash) from his Past, the Present, and a time Yet-To-Come, so that he gets a clearer understanding of the world around him and its creatures.  And so, he is transformed, not because he was an evil man but because he is a good man that has just gone astray for a long while.

     Of course, along this journey, he has many visions of his life on its downhill spiral.  He sees himself as a young man (Dan Tracy), before his fall from grace with his former boss, Fezziwig (Tissell, again) and his slipping into materialism with his true love, Belle (Mahoney, again).  In the Present, he’s sees the joy in both his nephew’s family and the Cratchit’s during this festive time of year.  And, in the possibly prophetic future, sees the results of his own plight and also of the sad fate of the Cratchit’s youngest, Tiny Tim (not credited), and so vows to change his wayward ways.

     This collective ensemble in an open staging arena and story-telling style, with music, dancing and song, brings to life, with the energetic leadership of the director, Weaver, this beaming story of Redemption and Love, fit for the whole family.  Mendelson is especially good playing a somewhat more approachable vision of Scrooge.  Also, Ash excels at playing all the ghosts, including Marley.

    And I liked Mahoney, too, as she stood out in all her varied incarnations.  I recommend this production, suited for the whole family, but it’s selling out fast, so get your tickets soon.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

     But, something to think about, as this story does inspire you to do that, there is a more somber/sober side that is relevant, too, as observed by my astute friend, Dave, and his wife, Christine (a Brit by birth), that Dickens’s life and times and writings were also reflecting on the poverty and pain of the 1800’s in England:   “…To portray the often grim world of A Christmas Carol as a jolly holiday post card is well meaning, but sadly misguided, especially when considering the poverty and suffering of the lower working class in Victorian England….”

     Definitely some excellent food for thought and true.  But here is my response to that note which he sent me: “Think about this:  During the Great Depression of the 30's, the one industry that thrived was...The Movies!  Why...because of the same reason we have upbeat Christmas classics at this time of our lives...because it boosts morale and gives people Hope and takes them out of their depressing situations for a while, in hopes of it rubbing off into real life.

     True, it doesn't reflect current situations of reality but it's hoping to create a New Reality with this (which is probably unrealistic) and, if not, at least takes people out of the Dismal situations for a short time and to view other possibilities, especially for the youngest citizens of our (once) Good Earth and let them see, at least, for a while, a Light at the end of a dark tunnel.

     Remember a quote from the play:  Scrooge, to Fred---"Why are you happy, you're poor enough?"  Fred's response, "Because I fell in Love."  Somehow, in Dickens's mind as well, Goodness/Love transforms the Darkness/Poverty into Light, if not forever, at least to give us the power, the vision, that there truly is something better out there, maybe just out of reach, but possible all the same!  "And, as Tiny Tim observed, "God Bless us Every One!"

     The next phase in our development is, honestly, in the hands of the Youth and they will change things, I believe....  “And a child shall lead them."  After all, look who's on the cover of Time as the Person of the Year!  And so, "attention must be paid"--and it is noted now for all to see.”

Happy Holidays!
--DJS

7 comments:

  1. I am here to give my testimony about chief dr lucky who helped me in my life, i want to inform the public how i was cured from herpes simplex virus by chief dr lucky, i visited different hospital but they gave me list of drugs like Famvir, Zovirax, and Valtrex which is very expensive to treat the symptoms and never cured me. I was browsing through the Internet searching for remedy on herpes and i saw comment of people talking about how chief dr lucky cured them. when i contacted him he gave me hope and send a Herbal medicine to me that i took and it seriously worked for me, am a free person now without problem, my herpes result came out negative. I pray for you chief dr lucky am cured you can also get your self cured my friends if you really need my doctor help, you can reach him now.
    Email: chiefdrlucky@gmail.com  Call or What's App +2348132777335  
    Website :  http://chiefdrluckysolutionhome.website2.me/ 

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never thought i would be HIV negative again after been
      diagnosed in 2015, i ave tried everything possible in life from
      one doctor to another, one hospital to another, series of tests,
      different kinds of medication, i had already lost hope until i
      meet Great Dr okadibo online testimonies, a specialist in
      herbal medication from Africa, i contacted him ( drokadiboherbalcure@gmail.com ) and he
      prepared HIV herbal medication for me which i took for 7days
      and now i am completely cured. i want to use this medium to
      express my gratitude to him for saving my life and curing me
      from HIV, for taking away all my pains and sorrows, I''m
      indeed grateful and i am so happy I''m now HIV negative. i will
      continue to tell the good news of your great works to
      everyone, if you have HIV or other disease contact him, Email:
      his email: ( drokadiboherbalcure@gmail.com ) or whatsApp him via +2349032824947 thank you my great Dr okadibo
      for curing me keep up your great work

      Delete
  2. I never thought i would be HIV negative again after been
    diagnosed in 2015, i ave tried everything possible in life from
    one doctor to another, one hospital to another, series of tests,
    different kinds of medication, i had already lost hope until i
    meet Great Dr okadibo online testimonies, a specialist in
    herbal medication from Africa, i contacted him ( drokadiboherbalcure@gmail.com ) and he
    prepared HIV herbal medication for me which i took for 7days
    and now i am completely cured. i want to use this medium to
    express my gratitude to him for saving my life and curing me
    from HIV, for taking away all my pains and sorrows, I''m
    indeed grateful and i am so happy I''m now HIV negative. i will
    continue to tell the good news of your great works to
    everyone, if you have HIV or other disease contact him, Email:
    his email: ( drokadiboherbalcure@gmail.com ) or whatsApp him via +2349032824947 thank you my great Dr okadibo
    for curing me keep up your great work

    ReplyDelete
  3. Doctor Razor God will continue to bless you more abundantly, for the good works you are doing in peoples life, I will keep on testifying about your good work, I was healed from HERPES VIRUS through the help of Doctor Razor. I saw a blog on how Doctor Razor cured people with his herbal treatment, i did not believe but i just decided to give him a try, I contacted him and he prepare the herbs for me which i took for only 18 days, after taking it, he told me to go for check up, could you believe that i was confirmed herpes negative after the test, and i went to a different hospital and it was also negative, i am so happy. If you have any problem or you are also infected with any disease, kindly contact him now with his Email: drrazorherbalhome@gmail.com or whatsapp/call him via +2349065420442

    ReplyDelete
  4. Doctor Razor God will continue to bless you more abundantly, for the good works you are doing in peoples life, I will keep on testifying about your good work, I was healed from HERPES VIRUS through the help of Doctor Razor. I saw a blog on how Doctor Razor cured people with his herbal treatment, i did not believe but i just decided to give him a try, I contacted him and he prepare the herbs for me which i took for only 18 days, after taking it, he told me to go for check up, could you believe that i was confirmed herpes negative after the test, and i went to a different hospital and it was also negative, i am so happy. If you have any problem or you are also infected with any disease, kindly contact him now with his Email: drrazorherbalhome@gmail.com or whatsapp/call him via +2349065420442

    ReplyDelete
  5. God bless Dr. USELU for his marvelous work in my life, I was diagnosed of HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS since 2018 and I was taking my medications, I wasn't satisfied i needed to get the HERPES out of my system, I searched about some possible cure for HERPES i saw a comment about Dr. USELU , how he cured HERPES with his herbal medicine, I contacted him and he guided me. I asked for solutions, he started the remedy for my health, he sent me the medicine within 3 days. I took the medicine as prescribed by him and 2weeks later  i was cured from HERPES contact him via email (dr.uselucaregiver@gmail.com) once again thanks to you Dr. USELU cure the flowing virus, contact his email or add him on whatsapp (+2349019328641) cancer cure
    diabetes cure
    ringing ear
    herpes cure
    warts cure
    HPV cure
    HIV cure
    get your ex back
    pregnancy herbal medicine
    Hepatitis     

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello! I’m very excited to inform everyone that I’m completely cured from my HSV 1&2 recently. I have used Oregano oil, Coconut oil, Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, Famciclovir, and some other products and it’s really help during my outbreaks but I totally got cured! from my HSV with a strong and active herbal medicine ordered from a powerful herbalist and it completely fought the virus from my nervous system and I was tested negative after 12 days of using the herbal medicine. I’m here to let you all know that herpes virus has a complete cure, I got rid of mine with the help of Dr KOFI and his herbal exploit. Contact him via email: drkofiherbalcure@gmail.com Call WhatSApp him for a solution in any kind of disease infection in your body (+2349039139161)...

    ReplyDelete