CBU gives twist to a classic story

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The theater program at California Baptist University is presenting Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” adapted for the stage by Karen Louise Hebden, in Wallace Theater. The show opened Nov. 17 and will close Dec. 2.

Daniel Beimford, sophomore theater major, was cast as Ebenezer Scrooge in the play and said he is excited about the innovative devices used in this production of the classic story.

“To a certain extent, there’s not that much you can deviate from, especially in terms of source material, but in terms of the way the show is staged and the way that it’s being presented, it’s very non-traditional,” Beimford said. “There are lots of special effects going on.”

Mandy Hyde, theater office manager, explained the sophisticated lighting techniques the director and lighting designer, Lee Lyons, is using.

“He’s doing a lot of projections; he’s purchased a lot of books about architecture from Dickens’ period in England to do projections for the street scenes and the rooms and the buildings,” Hyde said.

Hebden’s adaptation allowed for technical freedom in ways that set up Lyons to use lighting effects to develop his storytelling.

“In the script, there are a few things that gave Lee the idea to make it more technically exciting in terms of visuals,” Beimford said.

Hyde said Lyons searched for an adaptation to suit his particular vision for the play.

“He literally read 20 adaptations— from stories to play adaptations — and this was the one that had a little bit of humor in it and yet still fit into his idea,” Hyde said.

Lyons’ careful work carried over into the way he interacted with his cast and crew to affect an appropriately represent the source material and present his many innovative ideas.

“He does a great job of talking to people about what their motivation is. He has a picture in his head and then he brings it into reality,” Patty said.

This approach helps both the students and cast in the show as well as the children who were in the cast.

Mark McMillan, junior theater major, plays Fezziwig in the show. McMillan said he was grateful for the opportunity to work with a cast of students and children who skillfully execute their parts.

“The children are fun. It’s fun working with young children who are just as professional and work hard,” McMillan said.

Though this production of “A Christmas Carol” was presented with technical spectacle, it met the coming Christmas season with the same themes of selflessness, charity and gratefulness this classic story has for years.

The show reminds audience members of all ages what the season is about in an artistic and heartwarming way.

About Paul Johnson

Asst. A&E Editor

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