The Williamsburg Players bring holiday cheer with A Christmas Carol

aheymann@vagazette.com

To help you break away from holiday duties and get into the Christmas spirit, the Williamsburg Players will perform Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” from Dec.13-23.

Brink Miller, co-director of the show and the actor playing Ebenezer Scrooge, said in his 24 years of being Scrooge, he has seen children who once watched the play bring their own children to see it.

“There are a million Christmas plays, but this is the No. 1 Christmas play,” Miller said. “It will be presented thousands of times across the country and across the world every year.”

Unlike most renditions of “A Christmas Carol,” Miller said the Williamsburg Players will put on the show with nine actors who will take on multiple roles.

“We don't have the huge 50-person cast where each player has a tiny role, and then sits and watches the rest of the show,” Miller said. “In this version all the actors play multiple roles so they’re pretty much busy throughout the whole show, participating in different roles, as different characters.”

For example, Ginger Ambler plays five different characters throughout the play. She said one of the challenges is distinguishing characters from one another in terms of physical demeanor and voice.

“It’s also very difficult to change costumes between scenes,” Ambler said. “So we are very creative with how we manage behind-the-scenes transitions so what happens on the stage looks seamless and we can be convincing in our various roles.”

Miller said this show was originally written when he was in Georgia. He said the group he was with were going to perform “A Christmas Carol” at a school in the middle of the day.

“Well you can't get 50 people together in the middle of the workday to accommodate school children, but we could manage to get nine people together,” Miller said.

The play also is told in another creative way. Miller said at the beginning of the play, the characters put the book of “A Christmas Carol” in a little boy’s backpack. As the boy reads it when he’s supposed to be doing homework, the story plays out.

“Then as the show goes on, the boy gets incorporated into the show as Tiny Tim, as young Scrooge in school and those kinds of characters,” Miller said. “It’s kind of a unique way of presenting the show.”

Alex Fagerland, the actor playing the boy in the play and a sixth grader at Toano Middle School, said this was his favorite version of “A Christmas Carol.”

“I’ve played ‘A Christmas Carol’ with other groups — and I just have to say that this, with the Williamsburg Players, has been really fun,” Fagerland said.

While the play may have been altered some, Miller said it is loyal to the original story.

“It's very very true to Dickens,” Miller said. “One of the things I absolutely wanted to do was to make sure we were using Dickens’ words, Dickens’ language.”

Want to go?

A Christmas Carol will be performed from Dec. 13-16, and Dec. 20-23. Thursdays and Fridays showtime is 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. at Williamsburg Player’s Theater on 200 Hubbard Lane.

Tickets are $20 for adults, and $12 for those with a student or military I.D. You can purchase tickets online or by calling the box office at 229-0431.

Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.

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