‘Jacob Marley’ for Christmas at TLT

Published 3:59 pm Wednesday, December 3, 2008

&uot;Bah, humbug.&uot; You hear that phase, and instantly visions of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, the Spirits of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come, Old Fezziwig, and a host of others dance in your heads. Ah! But what about Scrooge&39;s counterpart, his late partner Jacob Marley? Think of him much?

You will now. The Tryon Little Theater is presenting &uot;Jacob Marley&39;s Christmas Carol&uot; at the Workshop Dec. 4-7 and 11-14. Critics have hailed Tom Mula&39;s play as &uot;Wondrous, an instant classic&uot; and &uot;Delectably zany&ellip; inspired theater&ellip; gives the audience cause to ache, and to laugh, and in the end, to exalt.&uot;&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;

Wrote the critic for The Chicago Tribune, &uot;Nothing less than an anthem to human nature, to imagination, and to the wonder of a compelling story told by a wondrous storyteller. As the tale slips down the throat like a hot chocolate, it also reveals new truths about the human condition. In Mula&39;s warm and inviting hands, Marley becomes a tortured but poignant and ultimately redeemed soul who personally stage-manages Scrooge&39;s reformation and finds his own redemption therein. A splendid and invigorating evening!&uot;

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Set on the simplest of stages, &uot;Jacob Marley&39;s Christmas Carol&uot; has five actors who play all 18 roles, slipping in and out of character with the fluidity spirits have in this world where time can be started up and stopped like a watch. The audience&39;s imaginations are fellow actors in this piece, participating fully in the fantasy playing out before them.

Director Elvin Clark plays Jacob Marley. Clark last directed &uot;Lost in Yonkers&uot; for TLT, has been seen of late as Oscar Madison in &uot;The Odd Couple&uot; and Mortimer in &uot;The Fantasticks,&uot; and in past years as King Arthur (&uot;Camelot&uot;), Bud Frump (&uot;How to Succeed&ellip;&uot;), Pseudolus (&uot;A Funny Thing Happened&ellip; Forum&uot;), and on and on.

Mike Johnson appears as Scrooge. Mike has been seen on the TLT stage as Felix Unger (&uot;The Odd Couple&uot;), Atticus Finch (&uot;To Kill a Mockingbird&uot;), Phil Gorski (&uot;Greetings!&uot;), several million people in &uot;A Tuna Christmas&uot; and on and on.

Sam Lovelace plays Marley&39;s spirit guide, the Bogle ‐ &uot;Tinkerbell with an attitude,&uot; as Clark describes this character. Sam appeared in TLT&39;s season opener &uot;Steel Magnolias&uot; as beauty parlor owner Truvy, was seen in &uot;The Fantasticks&uot; (The Mute), &uot;Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead&uot; (Rosencrantz), &uot;The Miss Firecracker Contest&uot; (Popeye), &uot;Greetings!&uot; (Randi) and on and on.

Chris Riddle plays a host of roles, most notably the Record Keeper, a cheerful, rumpled old sort who hands out work assignments to those arriving in Hell.&bsp; Chris directed last spring&39;s &uot;The Fantasticks,&uot; played the highly challenging dual role of Mickey/Lucius in &uot;Greetings!,&uot; Royce in &uot;Dearly Departed,&uot; Garry/Roger in &uot;Noises Off&uot; and on and on.

Rounding out the company is Connie Clark as the various Spirits of Christmas and a few of the condemned souls floating past Marley.&bsp; Connie has directed several shows for TLT and appeared in many more ‐ favorites being &uot;The Miracle Worker&uot; (Annie Sullivan), &uot;Private Lives&uot; (Amanda), &uot;The Philadelphia Story&uot; (Tracy Lord) and &uot;The Belle of Amherst&uot; (Emily Dickinson).

Seating is limited in the Workshop, so reservations are a must. The Workshop box office is manned 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Saturday: 859-2466. This production is not suitable for young children.

&uot;Jacob Marley&uot; is being sponsored by Twigs and El Chile Rojo, which will also provide the opening night reception to celebrate following that performance.