Peru, Indiana – Chances are you have seen “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens in years past. Perhaps you have read the book, seen the play or caught the movie at some point in your life. But according to Ole Olsen Memorial Theatre’s Kurt Schindler, this isn’t your normal “Christmas Carol”!
Schindler, who has been active with Ole Olsen since moving to the area in 2001, said he has participated in many of the Cole Porter shows as well as the annual Christmas productions at the Theatre over the years. In 2004, Schindler, along with Jayne Kesler, assisted Dick Schaffhausen in directing the 2004 Ole Olsen production of “A Christmas Carol”.
“I didn’t care for the script and even convinced Dick to let me re-write the ending a bit” according to Schindler who is directing the play this year at the Depot. “Jayne and I started talking about writing a new version during that production and this led me to begin writing a new script.” He stated it took him several years to complete this script.
Schindler said he started by re-reading the book and he quickly realized that the he couldn’t improve the dialog that Dicken’s himself wrote. He decided at that point to go thought the book line by line and adapt it as a play. The adaption uses a very minimal staging and props.
“This makes it much more difficult for the actors when you just strip it down to the characters from the book” said Schindler. “Most people know the story but we want to let you experience it like you would by reading the book.”
“When you think about it, the book is 174 years old and there has never been a period where it has been out of style” said Schindler. “Ninety-eight percent of our audience is very familiar with the play so we can afford to get adventurous with the script.”
“We have a cast of nineteen people portraying over 100 characters from the book” according to Schindler. This version has two people portraying Ebenezer Scrooge. “Andrea Chambers is the Scrooge you see on stage while Ethan Kimm supplies his voice.”
“Ethan portrayed Tiny Tim in the 2004 Ole production of the play so he may hold the record for going from Tiny Tim to Scrooge the fastest,” according to Schindler.
The cast for the play was set in late August. Schindler then did a final re-write to the script adjusting it for the cast that was selected. Formal rehearsal for the production started in October.
“This is the greatest group of people in the play” according to Schindler. "We’ve worked really hard and we’ve had a lot of fun putting this play together.”
The cast includes; Andrea Chambers, Ethan Kimm, Donna Bevington, Jerra Moreland, Jayne Kesler, Tina Foust, Duane Flaherty, Quenton Freeman, Diana Blair, Makenna Johnson, Twanna Jiles, Keith Martin, Miguel Sebastian, Kaydence Shepherd, Kiley Stiers, Kevin Cadwallader, Quentin Watson, Nickolas Moreland, and Sarah Murdock.
Tonight’s dinner theatre premiere is completely sold out. Tickets are still available for the following dates: Friday, December 1st, Saturday, December 2nd, Friday, December 8th, and Saturday, December 9th. These performances all start at 7:30 p.m. at the Depot.
Sunday matinees are also scheduled for Sunday December 3rd and Sunday December 10th starting at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets are going fast so you will want to call 765-472-3680 to make your reservations as soon as possible because you don’t want to miss this show!