Soulpepper presentations: From December 3, 2015 to January 3, 2016
I can't think of a better way to end the year than to see the infamous and selfish Scrooge morph before our eyes into an exalted man determined to dedicate the rest of his life to become the best he humanly can. For some years now, twice every three years, Soulpepper has presented its own theatrical version of Dicken's A Christmas Carol on an "arena stage" (with actors in the middle, surrounded by the audience) in the heart of the Distillery Historic District, the perfect setting for the Victorian play.
As we sat, we could appreciate the intimate feeling created by this original layout. As sson as the play began, we could see how well it served the beloved story. Actors could arrive from four different places (a fact that greatly helped recreate the ambiance of a busy crowd in the town's public place on Christmas Eve. When we attended, special effects were few, not to distract us from the storytelling, but quite efficient: a tablecloth would fly in the air, people would disappear into the stage, the arms of a giant clock would run like crazy on the floor. Props were as ingenious. A ladder on wheels would allow us to imagine Scrooge overlooking the whole village in the night. Actors were able to quietly install garlands without interrupting their delivery to turn a working place into the citest ballroom.
We then were treated with the most engaging dance by the full cast. Even grumpy Scrooge could not resist the impulse to emulate the dancers. I don't know if 2015's production will be much different but one thing for sure: I can't imagine a better inspiration to start on our New Year's resolutions. (Note that the Toronto Christmas Market 2015 is on from Nov. 20 to Dec. 20.)
Photos by Cylla von Tiedemann