Get out of the kitchen and off the couch and experience a perfect holiday feast: an ageless classic’s words mixed with a dash of wacky British/situational/sketch comedy, a dab of modern irony, a dollop of darling children, a generous pinch of gender-bending, and a hearty portion of incredible local talent ranging from a 5-year-old — possibly the only genuinely adorable contestant ever to be on “Toddlers and Tiaras” — to an 80-something grande dame who finds playing a wicked character to be “so much FUN!”
Before the holidays become something you can’t wait to be over, even after Black Friday sales make you question the state of humanity — indulge your inner Scrooge — and let his joy be your own at Misspent Youth’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” an original adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless, moving yet side-splitting classic at ARTworks, November 28 (That’s right, just when you couldn’t wait five more minutes to escape the house…) through December 6.
“It’s the perfect way to start off your holiday season,” according to Lady’s Island resident Kelly Hall, who, like most of the troupe that director (and play adapter) Travis Hornsby has assembled from throughout Beaufort County, plays a couple of different roles in “A Christmas Carol.”
The cast, diverse in every way, describes their experience in bringing Hornsby’s vision of Dickens’ brilliant work to the stage as “awesome,” “hilarious and heartwarming,” and “a very funny play, and the ending makes me happy!” (That last comment comes from Lily Beck, 8-year-old stage veteran and Monty Python fan.)
In addition to the new look at a 150-year-old classic, this production seeks to be “an antidote to each of our inner Ebenezers,” according to producer Gail Westerfield. “We wanted to create a little holiday oasis at ARTworks; it’s our way of giving the gift of art to the community — and we’re totally into your opening our gift ‘early.’ ”
Hornsby agrees: “Dickens designed ‘A Christmas Carol’ to show society the importance of community, charity, and Christmas cheer. Our production has all three! Plus, you can pick up some extra cheer — wassail, cocoa and more spirits than Scrooge finds in his room on Christmas Eve — at the ARTworks bar for a donation. Carry those concoctions into the theater and enjoy!”
While Hornsby was aware that some consider “A Christmas Carol” to be “stodgy or old-fashioned,” he wanted to create a stage story with humor both gentle and broad and found that while adapting Dickens’ play, he continually noted how relevant much of the play’s nearly 150-year-old themes are today.
Blufftonian Ellie Friedman Beck, who auditioned to play Fan, Scrooge’s sister, nearly two decades ago but was never cast, gets to watch her daughter, Lily, take on that role. A lifelong fan of “A Christmas Carol,” Beck recalls, as a little girl, turning “an empty wrapping paper tube into a crutch, pretending to be Tiny Tim! I’d go around the house saying, ‘God bless us, every one!’ and forced my parents to speak with English accents.”
Other ensemble members are Alan Lathan, Henry Drier, Benjamin Morgan, Eddie Watson, Alan Purdy, Anne Errington, Jessica Lopes,
Christian Philip Osborne, Matthew Osborne, Aidan Dreier, and Sophia Dickinson.
Everyone is invited to an Opening Night reception November 28, with free champagne and tasty treats to toast this great cast and crew’s dedication to bringing every one of its audiences what Jonah Szeder, who plays eternally cheerful urchin Tiny Tim, promises will be “a play that people all over the world want to come and see. Like all the way from South America and North America.”
Live pre-show entertainment begins a half-hour before every performance, and the show is best enjoyed with free homemade holiday goodies, before the giddy trip through Dickens’ masterful tale of miserable miserliness made good.
Curtain for November 28 and 29 and December 4, 5, and 6 shows is at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, November 30 show will be at 3 p.m.
So that others in our the community may also enjoy a bounteous feast like Scrooge bestows on the Cratchits, donations of non-perishables or cash to a food drive for HELP of Beaufort will receive discount coupons to upcoming Misspent Youth shows.
Tickets for “A Christmas Carol” are $17 for adults, $15 for students, and $12 for active duty military and children. Group discounts are available. Call 843-379-2787 or order online at www.beaufortcountyarts.com.
ARTworks is located at 2127 Boundary Street in Beaufort, next to OMNI in Beaufort Town Center (between Kmart and Bi-Lo).