A Christmas Carol (movie, 2009)

Pop-up production of "A Christmas Carol" a holiday tradition

Pop-up production of 'A Christmas Carol' a holiday tradition

The 2,000-pound trailer has a way of turning heads.

From the minute it rolls into Merchants Square, seemingly out of place amid 18th-century-style buildings decked in holiday greenery, to the moment it opens to reveal a fully outfitted, 5-by-8-foot stage — the setting for a 30-minute production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

It's the Virginia Theatre Machine, the brainchild of Mark Lerman, and turning heads is the point.

"Often, street theater is a couple of people and a few props," Lerman said. "Ultimately, why I'm doing this gets into the motivation for the Virginia Theatre Machine, which was how do I introduce people to theater in...