A Christmas Carol at theatre in country

Theatre In The Country putting on the Charles Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol.

Paul Beckett as Jacob Marley's Ghost

Theatre In The Country will be resurrecting the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future with their production of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.

For the past three years the show has been held at Maple Ridge Christian School. This will be the first year at Theatre in the Country.

“The venue we’ve moved to is more intimate and it also allows us to do it as a dinner theatre,” said artistic director Reg Parks.

In addition, the audience will be asked to participate in the singing of Christmas carols and even do a little dancing.

Parks is also excited about new elements added to the show.

One element will be video of Scrooge walking the streets of 1840s London, England and through an ancient graveyard that will be projected onto a screen during the show.

In September, while leading a theatre tour through London, Parks and his wife, Erin, took a couple of extra days and shot the video of Scrooge, played by Parks.

“We always try to make it a little different in how we present it,” said Parks.

This will be the third time Parks has played the role of Scrooge.

“I think the most interesting thing about Scrooge is, of course, the story is so well known and taking him from the extreme of the greedy old miser to the most generous man in London is a fun transition for any actor,” said Parks.

But, he added, because the arch of Scrooge’s story is so well known, you have to be careful how you portray it.

The challenging part of this role is that Scrooge never leaves the stage. Instead, he is always watching what is happening and reacting to the lessons the spirits are teaching him.

“The most challenging part of it is acting away from the lines. In other words, reacting to what’s going on stage and trying to gage [Scrooge’s] journey emotionally as you’re watching these other scenes take place,” he said.

Jessica Tabak is back playing the part of Belle, Scrooge’s love interest. A role she loves to play every year, primarily because of the song she sings when she breaks up with Scrooge.

“ It’s been a big thing that keeps me coming back to the role. The song is absolutely beautiful and really heart breaking in a gorgeous way,” explained Tabak.

Although Tabak has played Belle for the past four years, she says she has in no way perfected the role.

“I think that’s part of the fun of it, getting to do it over and over and over again, is what can I push this time, what can I do better, how can I challenge myself,” she said.

Next year, Parks is planning to do a musical version of It’s A Wonderful Life and the following year a musical called The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, about the beginning of the relationship between Mary and Joseph and the nativity story, before bringing back A Christmas Carol.

“We’re just hoping to build a great Christmas tradition of doing really good Christmas shows out here,” said Parks.

On stage

A Christmas Carol – A New Musical runs until Saturday at Theatre In The Country, 9975 – 272nd Street, Maple Ridge. Shows are Thursday to Sunday each week.

• For more information or to purchase tickets go to theatreinthecountry.com or call 604-259-9737.

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