As my daughter and I skipped up the front lobby steps to the Chace Theater, giggling in anticipation, a flood of memories rushed back to me. The times as a child that I raced and jumped up these same stairs, eager for the magic that awaited on stage. I remember how gleeful I was as I flipped through the program, glimpsing at biographies and head shots, and I would recite my favorite lines in my head before the show began: “If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population!” and “God bless us, every one!” And I smiled as I thought back to my childhood self, who could never get enough of Trinity Rep’s production of A Christmas Carol.
Now, finally, my oldest daughter is ready to share in my favorite Christmas pastime. I’ve been waiting for years for this moment. As we sat in our seats and she scrutinized her program from cover to cover, I felt a sense of joy that often feels difficult to capture during the stress of the holiday season. Having a theater date with my first-born? Nothing could be more special.
As an adult, watching A Christmas Carol was every bit as memorable, magical, and enchanting as I had remembered it. I love how Trinity Rep can take a familiar story, and while keeping in grounded in tradition, reimagine it every year in a full, interactive experience. As Scrooge, Joe Wilson, Jr. charmed the audience. But beyond the incredible acting and staging, my favorite moments of this production came through observing my daughter’s experience of the show. Her eyes lit up as she watched Mrs. Fezziwig emerge from the stage’s trap doors, and she clapped along and shimmied as the cast sang and danced with merriment. She sat on the edge of her seat as she watched the Ghost of Christmas Present tap dance his way through his scene. She beamed when cast members in the aisles waved to her and smiled. Observing her reactions was priceless: her devastation when Scrooge refused to donate to solicitors, her lamentation when Belle broke her engagement with Scrooge, her horror at Ignorance, Want, and the trio of actors who played the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, and her delight in Scrooge’s transformation. When the show was over, she turned to me and exclaimed, “can we see it again?”
But beyond the talented and unparalleled cast who made our theatrical experience so magnificent, I was so pleased to see how Trinity Rep used this production as a chance to connect with the greater community. The performance we saw featured members of the community group Youth Pride. At the end of the curtain call, Joe Wilson Jr. gave an impassioned speech about the importance and obligation of taking care of those in our community who are most in need. I turned to look at my daughter as he spoke. She was listening.
I decided that A Christmas Carol would be our springboard for a greater call to action. On the way home, we talked about how money had corrupted Scrooge’s heart and how happy he felt by choosing to give back to his community and letting others into his heart. We took a small step of donating to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, and we began to make plans of how we could take steps, both big and small, to take care of people and organizations in our community.
My daughter and I are already planning our trip to see A Christmas Carol next year. I have no doubt it will become our favorite holiday tradition. But Trinity Rep has given us not only a chance to make memories at the theater, but through service as well. And we will carry Scrooge’s lesson with us to use as our model: “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
Don’t miss out on your chance to experience New England’s Favorite Holiday Tradition, A Christmas Carol. Tickets to Trinity Rep’s production are available now through December 31. Make sure you buy your tickets early before it sells out!
Trinity Rep explodes with activity that feeds the soul and inspires dialogue through unparalleled theatrical experiences. Recognized nationally for excellence and innovation, and cherished locally for high quality and diverse programming, we are proud to be a creative home for Rhode Island’s artists, audience, students, and community partners.