Hudson Reed stages reading of ‘A Christmas Carol’
If You Go …
What: ‘A Christmas Carol’ radio play, presented by Hudson Reed Ensemble
Where: Aspen Community Church
When: Friday, Dec. 11 & Saturday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m.
How much: Free
More info: hudsonreedensemble.org
Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit and Charles Dickens’ classic story of ghosts and redemption, “A Christmas Carol,” comes to life in a Hudson Reed Ensemble production this weekend.
Eleven actors will read a radio play adaptation of the yuletide tale, with Chris Wheatley playing Scrooge, Morgan Walsh narrating and the rest of the cast of locals juggling multiple roles.
“It’s exciting to watch their transformations from one character to the next,” director Kent Hudson Reed said.
Readings by Reed’s company are becoming an Aspen holiday tradition, now in their third year. It began in 2013 with “Once Upon a Christmas,” an anthology of dramatic readings of stories by O.Henry, Dylan Thomas, Truman Capote and others.
“We got a good response, so we went deep into the radio realm,” Reed said.
He soon found a radio play adapation of “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Los Angeles sound editor Tony Palermo, and successfully staged it last year.
“It’s great in that it’s a really auditory thing, which is really different in this day and age of television and so many other screens,” Reed said.
Reed is drawn to the radio plays, in part by nostalgia and his childhood memories of the tail end of the era of radio programs like “The Shadow” and “The Fat Man.”
“It harkens back to that era,” he said.
And, from a practical perspective, he added, it’s relatively easy to stage. Without blocking and sets and such, Reed and his cast were able to get “A Christmas Carol” ready for its two-night run at the Aspen Community Church with five rehearsals.
Among the joys of the “It’s a Wonderful Life” performance last year was the radio-style folio sound effects used to bring it to life. That tradition continues in “A Christmas Carol,” with local musician Ben Diamond manning the sounds.
The show also includes 70-some sound effects.
The script the company is using for “A Christmas Carol” is also by Palermo. Reed said he hopes, from now on, to stage it and “It’s a Wonderful Life” every other year in Aspen around the holidays.
“These are both great adaptations,” Reed said.
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