Campus News

“A Christmas Carol” brings new slant to Bethel College Theatre Department

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On Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, the curtain opened on the Bethel College Theatre Department's production of "A Christmas Carol." The auditorium was packed for the sold-out matinee Thursday morning, the first of five performances over the weekend of this classic story. The Bethel College Theatre Department brought this Christmastime classic, adapted from Charles Dickens's novel, to Bethel's campus. However, this production isn’t your normal case of the old Ebenezer Scrooge tale. The focus of this year’s production is more inspired by the nightmarish and “slanted” side of the classic tale than the happy, skippy and fun element that most people tend to think of being associated with the novel. Scenic designer April Reed shared with the Bethel Beacon about the purpose and intentions behind this play and its set. “This is not your typical rendition of 'A Christmas Carol,'” said Reed. “It’s not the cute and cuddly side of the story that people often think of being displayed. Honestly, it’s kind of a scarier side to the tale. Often times it’s easier to focus on the cute elements of this beloved story, but [the Theatre Department] felt like the interpretation that we were going for is focused on something different.” Reed described how the story is meant to dive into the slanted and somewhat altered world of both Scrooge's mind and the industrialization-driven world he calls home. “The set itself reflects the ‘slanted’ and ‘non-linear’ mindset of the protagonist of Scrooge,” stated Reed. “Everything in the set was designed with the idea of being slanted and even a little bit unorthodox to help paint a picture as to the world that Scrooge is living within. The set and its design have been a work in progress, Reed and her team built the initial designs early this past summer. “We actually had a completely different concept for the set coming into this school year, as to how the set was to look for the production,” said Reed. “However, once we got back from Summer break, we put those former ideas aside and became completely captivated by this new approach to the slanted set.” Reed told the Bethel Beacon what exactly provided the inspiration for the set’s design. “I read the novel over and over to try and get an idea as to how we should approach this display and came to realize just how disturbing the novel can be at times,” said Reed. “It was our goal to follow its nightmarish reputation in the set as well as in the re-telling of the tale.” Even though the tale of “A Christmas Carol” and the theatre department’s interpretation of it are meant to focus in on some of the darker sides to the tale, Reed still believes the tale to be informative and even a positive reinforcement to its audience. “This production provides the department with the opportunity to help reach out to members of the audience,” said Reed. “I, as scenic designer and a member of this play’s production team, literally get to serve people and help provide them with solid entertainment at the same time. How cool is that!” Reed stressed the importance of how this telling of the tale provides people with the chance to see a new type of storytelling that you don’t see every day. “It’s something new and exciting, and it’s something that I hope people will come out and support," said Reed. "You may think you have an idea as to what the theater department is and what we are capable of here at Bethel, but this play will give you a better idea as to how it’s all really done.”

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