December 15, 2018

A Christmas Carol: Providence’s Favorite Holiday Tradition

posted on: Thursday December 6, 2018

by: Brigid Walshe ’19 A&E Staff

A Christmas Carol Trinity Rep

PHOTO COURTESY OF RHODE ISLAND MONTHLY

One of the most beloved Christmas traditions in Providence is Trinity Repertory Company’s annual production of Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol. For the past 41 years, Trinity Repertory Company (Trinity Rep) has produced A Christmas Carol, usually putting their own unique, modern twist on the timeless classic. This year, the theater did a more traditional production of the story set in 19th century London.

Stephen Torne, who has been with Trinity Rep for 19 seasons, portrayed the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge. He co-directed the production last season, as well as portrayed roles in both Othello and Ragtime. 

The production also featured many actors who are currently enrolled in the Brown University/Trinity Rep M.F.A. program, where participating students in the program will receive a M.F.A. in Acting or Directing. There are also two different ensembles in the production that switch on-and-off with every show to portray the various children in the story, the most famous being Tiny Tim. 

The coolest thing about this year’s performance is that it features a different local choir for their 56 performances during the season. Originally, the artistic team reached out to over 85 different choirs in communities in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. The choirs that are performing in the production this season are a mix of school, church, community, and college choirs. 

The choirs are made up of a gamut of different individuals from all different types of backgrounds. Groups such as the Providence Gay Men’s Chorus to RPM Voices represent a local organization who teach and participate in the African American choral traditions. 

For the performance on Nov. 30, an A capella group from the Gordon School, a private school in East Providence, performed wonderfully. The artistic team for A Christmas Carol actually had to modify the music in order to account for their adolescent voices. While the choir played a minimal role in the play itself, they had the chance to do their own “solo” during curtain call, which was a great addition. 

For the past 12 years, the theater has always ended their performances with Scrooge coming before the audience and asking them to donate to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. This idea came about back in 2006, when someone suggested that the production should bring to life Scrooge’s newfound sense of charity and kindness. This has been a major success for both the theater and organization, which has received more than $400,000 in contributions from theatergoers over the past decade. 

Trinity Rep, which is located in downtown Providence, will be offering performances of A Christmas Carol until Dec. 30. Those interested can buy tickets on their website www.trinityrep.com or call their box office at (401)-351-4242. 

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