LEWISTON – This holiday season, The Public Theatre will present its acclaimed adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” followed by “A Solstice Celebration,” on Dec. 12, 13 and 14.

The Public Theatre’s version of the Dickens classic has become a favorite holiday tradition in Lewiston/Auburn. This inventive adaptation, performed by six actors and a fiddler, was developed at and written for The Public Theatre by Artistic Director Christopher Schario in 1993, and has since been published by Dramatists Play Service and is now regularly performed by theaters around the world.

With all the different versions out there, this adaptation remains many people’s favorite. “We stay true to the to the heart of the story, while at the same time imaginatively rejuvenating this familiar tale,” said director and author Christopher Schario.

Much of Dickens’ original text is used, with six actors sharing narration and portraying various characters with the aid of a hat, cloak, robe and more. A live fiddler underscores the story with traditional Christmas music, and a hand-cranked wind machine and a thunder sheet create a theatrical atmosphere. Uncluttered by spectacle, the audience’s imagination is free to soar and this classic story comes to life in a way you’ve never imagined.

Schario’s version begins with a child reading a copy of Dickens’ novel. As the child reads, five actors and a fiddler magically appear, and slowly coax the child into joining the story and into becoming the character of Tiny Tim. It’s a marvelous metaphor for the way literature grabs and transforms us, as well as an original way of illuminating this inspiring tale of human redemption. The Public Theatre’s unique adaptation is a great way rediscover your true holiday spirit as well as the magic of theater.

Leading the cast of “A Christmas Carol” will be JT O’Connor as Scrooge. O’Connor performed in the film “The Producer’s,” and is happy to be returning to The Public Theatre where he has appeared in such shows as “The Nerd” and “Rough Crossing.”

New to the cast this season will be 12-year-old Dylan Chessnut of Portland in the role of the child/Tiny Tim. Returning to the cast are various alumni, including Dennis Price as Fred/Christmas Present, Russell Berrigan as Marley/Bob Cratchit, Suzanne Cerreta as Belle/Fan, Sheila Stasack as Mrs. Cratchit/The Ghost of Christmas Past and Levi Galloway as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Returning as the fiddler will be acclaimed musician and storyteller Jennifer Armstrong. Armstrong brings her own special magic to “A Christmas Carol,” and provides a second act to the evening when she adds her banjo, harp, guitar and bagpipe, and performs her production of “A Solstice Celebration,” a mix of classic holiday songs and stories.

Performances for the general public on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12-13, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 14 at 1 and 4 p.m. Ticket are $18 for adults, $16 for students and seniors, and $10 for children under the age of 12. Gift certificates for tickets are available for this production, or any play throughout the remainder of the season. For tickets, call the box office at 782-3200. Tickets are also available for special student matinee performances on Dec. 9-11, at 11:30 a.m.


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