Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
After COVID-19 shut the performance down after only two weeks last year, Rosebud Theatre’s performance of A Christmas Carol returns to be the play of Christmas present.
Directed by Morris Ertman, the show offers a rich and unique experience on a classic holiday story, with only a single actor fulfilling the role of the Storyteller, using Charles Dickens’ own words and a small but versatile set to bring the two acts to life.
Nathan Schmidt brings a lively and infectious energy to his performance in the lead and only role, with a sense of humor and transformation between characters that leaves the viewer completely drawn in and forgetting, even for a moment, that there is only one man on stage instead of the countless people that make up the story. Watching Schmidt take on the energy of an entire holiday party’s worth of clerks is a moment not soon forgotten.
His performance is only enhanced by the skillful use of technical aspects, such as the multicoloured lighting and use of smoke able to change moments from warm and joyous to a horrible sense of foreboding at the coming of the final spirit in a way not often used in one man performances.
Perhaps the most effective source of light is the single candle used throughout the play’s entirety, which also takes on myriad roles from a bedside light to the last embers of what should be a warming fire, nearly as many roles as Schmidt himself.
Ben Elliott’s score only ties the whole piece together from the moment the seats fill to after the last line of dialogue, filling in any setting not expertly supplied by the ghostly curtains and Schmidt’s own narration.
The overall effect of these results in the best of both worlds; it has both the warmth of someone reading a story at your bedside, as well as the technical magic that is a full stage production’s lighting, music, and skilled performers.
Coming back to the theatre after so long in lock down allows for a more powerful experience for the audience, but also for those behind the scenes and on the stage, and the excitement to be doing what they love is evident in every part of A Christmas Carol.
Due to extensive COVID-19 Safety Protocols, seating for each showing is limited, and as such I would encourage those interested in seeing this marvel of the holiday arts to act soon so as to not miss their chance. While viewers are asked to remain masked for the entirety of the two-hour performance, you will be too busy re-learning the spirit of generosity and Christmas to even notice you’re wearing one.