By Edith McCauley
From a strictly professional company, Artists’ Ensemble, to a student production is quite a step, but it is also a joy to see young people learning their craft. James Radloff Jr.’s long years in theater give him the expertise to teach, and as director and stage and set designer, his multiple talents are shared with his students.
It would be interesting to count the number of productions of A Christmas Carol currently running throughout the country. Dickens’ classic is part of the holiday for many, and every version is a reflection of his work and the individuals who produce it.
Not often do I begin with the program, but this one is a classic. Working with Radloff, Greg Farnham took the photos that display every character in the play. Their costumes by Jan Bacino are beautiful reproductions of the clothing of the period, and the group staging recalls the tintypes of the time. The cover with Paul Steffan as Scrooge/Dickens and Mark Lemon as the Ghost of Christmas Present within a crystal snow ball is amazing. The cast, although not extensive, play multiple roles and manage to achieve costume changes and move dozens of props to change scenes. They even decorated the Christmas tree.
Radloff continues to use fabric as an essential part of his staging. The Ghost of Christmas Future was swathed in yards of black material, and its use as a device for the last scenes was a bit awkward. The music with Angela Martinez on piano, Chloe Hadavas on cello, Zoe Jensen on violin, Max Lander on violin and trumpet enhanced the production. Lander was everywhere as Nephew Fred, Peter, Old Joe and a comedic Mrs. Fezziwig. As a dancing lady, he drew great response from the audience. These students display their love of theater in their devotion to Radloff and their work in every aspect of the production.
The show runs through Dec. 11 at the Gaylord Commons Theater on the campus of Keith Country Day School. For ticket information, call the school. I shared the performance with Pat Staaf, her daughter, Marge Henning, and Jessica MacDonald, all ladies of theater. It was a wonderful day…
From the Dec. 8-14, 2010 issue