Thursday, January 6, 2011

"A Christmas Carol" by The Soulpepper Theatre Company

Written by Charles Dickens. Adapted by Michael Shamata.

Last Monday, I had the opportunity to visit the lovely Distillery District to enjoy a little festive theatre production.
Soulpepper is one of Toronto's most critically acclaimed theatre companies, but more interestingly, one of their more experimental performance art collectives.
The good folks at Soupepper had prepared a stunning stage adaption of Charles Dickens' quaint Victorian ghost tale, "A Christmas Carol".
I went down with my family to the lovely Young Center for The Performing Arts early in the evening.
The reception foyer filled up rather quickly.
My parents had some warm beverages before the show, and the caffeine evidently made them even more excited than I already was at the moment.
An announcement was made five minutes prior to the show to usher the eager audience into the theatre.
As I mentioned earlier, Soulpepper has been known to take a fascinatingly experimental approach to contemporary theatre classics. This would immediately become evident as soon as one entered the strange rectangle stage, set right in the center of all the auditorium seats. They made a magnificent use of their stage technology and unique stage setting to put forth an intriguingly engaging show brimming with adaptative ingenuity.
stage copy
I don't want to ruin any of the magic in case any of you readers decide to attend their production next year, but the stage introduction was absolutely brilliant. The narrator took the stage in a charmingly mild manner, making casual reference to the "ghost light" quietly standing by itself in the center of the stage. Conversationally, he slowly made his way to an explanation of the ghost light's significance in the history of theatre. Before you knew it, all in one seamless motion, the ghost light dramatically vanished, the props made their way to the stage in one enormously dream-sequenced swirl, and the enthralling ghost tale of "A Christmas Carol" filled the room.
Everything about this show was so irresistibly enjoyable, from the gorgeous performing art center that hosts Soulpepper's productions, to Michael Shamata's ingenious adaptation for the stage, to the Distillery District itself, glimmering in all its Yuletide glory.
This is a truly unique Toronto experience no performance art-enthusiast should have to miss during Christmas.

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