Scrooge is a name, of course, but it is also a word.
When dad won’t pop for tickets to some concert, he may be called a Scrooge. If mom says you are not going to an indoor water park on Christmas Day, kids may say, "Don’t be such a Scrooge."
We all know what a "Scrooge" is: a bitter, hateful penny-pincher with not an ounce of fun, joy or charity in his cold, cold heart.
Well, watch your opinion change if you are lucky enough to see the Milwaukee Rep’s 38th consecutive production of that classic holiday tale, "A Christmas Carol," at the glorious Pabst Theater.
This Ebenezer Scrooge, under the direction of Aaron Posner and the amazing acting of star Christopher Donahue, is a man trapped by what seems expected of him, while denying the deeply buried but also deeply remembered heart of a wondrous and wide-eyed child.
The Scrooge in this production is a stunning and surprising marvel to behold. Nobody ever thought anything good about Scrooge. Donahue reveals that all is not exactly as it seems and that there are real emotions lurking just below his surface, emotions that would shock his world and change the self-portrait he has carefully drawn.
For the first time in my years of reading the classic Charles Dickens book and seeing the play, I was struck by the key contrast in the drama and comedy. You have Scrooge on one hand and the guileless Bob Cratchit on the other. They are diametrically opposed human beings, one who owns the office and the other who just tries to warm it up a little bit.
You get the sense of this dramatic conflict early with Scrooge mocking Cratchit as he toys with his pay, just for the sake of being the ass he thinks he should be. And then, at the Cratchit family Christmas Eve dinner, Bob Cratchit shocks his wife and children by proposing a toast to Scrooge. It is the ultimate act of both emotional and intellectual charity, and stands in stark relief from the humbug of Scrooge.
To make this whole thing work for two hours, you need two …Read more...