At the Theater

By Mary Ann Enloe | Dec 11, 2013

HART began a Christmas tradition last year which belongs on everyone's holiday to-do list.

Director Mark Jones was commissioned to adapt Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" for HART, and the result is fun family fare and a feast for the senses. Jones keeps the essence of the 1843 chestnut while simplifying dialogue and compressing the story into a one-act play that is told in less than an hour and a half.

The living Christmas card features carolers singing, snow falling and fog rolling across lush sets. Special effects and the all-over design of the show are exquisite. In Jones' adaptation of the classic, music is one of the stars in the non-musical.

Asheville's Anne Rhymer Schwabland wrote the imaginative score. Under her direction, the talented nine-member orchestra provides a solid foundation for ghosts, twirling four-poster beds and general onstage fun. Then there's Scrooge.

His off-stage name is Steve Lloyd, longtime executive director of HART, but during "A Christmas Carol" he is the curmudgeon Scrooge. It's as if Dickens himself had Lloyd in mind for the peach of a part. Many of the cast of 45 are new to HART this year.

They couldn't have chosen a better way to become involved in one of the South's most successful theatres. Although Jones said last year that he would be tweaking the show, changes seemed minimal. A welcome difference in the 2013 production is a less heavy-handed touch with the fog machine.

HART's "A Christmas Carol" is a wonderful way to welcome the Christmas season. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 15 at the HART Theater on Pigeon St. in Waynesville.

Tickets for evening performances are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $8 for students. Discounted tickets to matinees re $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and $6 for students. Reservations can be made by calling the HART Box Office from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday or by visiting http://www.hart-theatre.com/.

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