The classic holiday story of transformation and redemption, A Christmas Carol, will be presented in downtown Tacoma in a performance that will be both single and singular.
On Sunday, Dec. 1 beginning at 1 p.m. the Knights of Pythias Hall at 926 ½ Broadway will host a free presentation of Charles Dickens’ ghostly holiday tale with a new twist: three experienced voice performers will read an adaptation of the story annotated by the author himself with some additional text restored from the full version, and only one of the cast of three will actually be in the Tacoma performance hall. The other two will be on Second Life to provide a clash between old-world storytelling and new world technology.
Tacoma theater artist, author, and storyteller Judith Cullen will be performing "A Christmas Carol" along with Minnesota voice actor Kevin Lee, and Nevada storyteller Shandon Loring. Loring and Lee will be joining Cullen in the virtual world of Second Life to present the tale simultaneously in downtown Tacoma, and in the virtual world for an international audience.
Lasting an hour, with a brief intermission, the three performers will guide guests through the journey of Ebenezer Scrooge, with Loring voicing the humbugging moneylender, while Lee and Cullen trade off narration and all additional characters.
The audience in Tacoma will see the virtual world on a large screen in the historical Pythian’s Hall, and view both the performers and the virtual audience as they explore a three dimensional environment called The Dickens Project.
The Dickens Project is a brainchild of Cullen, a hometown theater designer and author who is passionate about exploring new ways to bring stories and literature to life.
“The Dickens Project was envisioned as a way to create an experience where an audience could walk in the steps of Ebenezer Scrooge while listening to words of the author. In its beta-test last year, the environment served as an interactive framework for the live, spoken performances. The response was incredible.”
The performance is free to Tacoma audiences, and free-will donations will be accepted with the proceeds benefiting My Sister’s Pantry: serving hot meals and distributing groceries and clothing to poor families suffering from homelessness in Tacoma since 1999.
Likewise the virtual audience will be invited to join the creators of The Dickens Project in support of War Child North America: the Canadian branch of an international network of agencies that go into war zones and places of armed conflict to provide education, advocacy, and support to non-combatants - children and families many of whom are often forced to become combatants simply to survive. War Child’s vision is of a world where someday no child will know war.
“It is ironic.” says Cullen, “For years, I chuckled at the annual ‘cash cow’ productions of A Christmas Carol that so many theaters across the country present. Then I read the story. It is a great story, to be sure. Only a portion of the novella’s great beauty is in the dialogue. There is so much more to be found that never makes it to a theatrical adaptation. It is worth reading the entire thing.”
Cullen has read the entire text for online audiences for the last four years, just before Christmas. “That these great charities should benefit is a perfect fit. I think Mr. Dickens would have approved whole heartedly.”