Goodman Theater welcomes Charles Dickens classic back to the stage
By Kevinisha Walker
The Goodman Theater brings Charles Dickens’ characters to life once again during its 36th anniversary production of “A Christmas Carol.”
While the messages and themes stay the same, there are a couple of changes to this year’s production, including Henry Wishcamper taking his first turn at directing the annual production.
Wishcamper directed a critically acclaimed production of “Other Desert Cities” earlier this year.
Goodman Theater representatives said that people should expect to see new set pieces — including Scrooge’s bedroom and the Knocker — choreography, songs and costumes.
As the Dickens story graces the Goodman Theater’s stage this holiday season, a couple of the play’s cast members shared their thoughts on their respective roles.
Atra Asdou, who plays Belle, said via email that she hopes people come away from the play with joy, at the very least.
She also hopes that people learn to treat each other with kindness all the time.
“I would wish that people come away acting upon that attitude for every day of the year, not just during the holidays,” Asdou said.
The Loyola University alumna was interested in the role because of how the character falls in love and how she deals with the fallout in the end.
“Belle never compromises her values of genuine togetherness and joy to accommodate a place for material gain and a chance at a better social situation,” Asdou said.
Joe Foust, who plays Jacob Marley, said he always wanted to play the character and is lucky to finally have the chance to play the role.
“To prepare for Marley, I come from a place of deep despair,” Foust said. “I think his pain is what makes him terrifying.”
Both Belle and Jacob are central to Ebenezer Scrooge’s life as they are the woman he once was in love with and his former business partner, respectively.
And it’s those relationships and Scrooge’s transformation that some critics argue make the play worthwhile.
Because the Dickens novella has been adapted so many times, some might find it easy for the story to get stale and old.
But Asdou said that will never happen because the story is timeless.
“Like an automatic fragrance dispenser, [the story] keeps itself fresh,” Asdou said.
She also said that the themes of capitalism, separatism, indifference and greed are alive today which makes the story relevant.
“All we have to do is honor the essence of the story Charles Dickens penned years ago,” Asdou said.
A Christmas Carol runs through Dec. 28. Ticket prices range from $25 to $83.
At 10 a.m. each performance day, remaining seats in the front eight rows of the mezzanine are available for half price at Goodmantheater.org. You must enter the promo code MEZZTIX to purchase. Half price mezzanine tickets can also be purchased at the box office starting at 12 p.m.