By Ms. Hoo Sook Hwang
AAP Theater Review
MINNEAPOLIS (Dec. 8, 2014) — The 40th production of the annual play, A Christmas Carol, opened on November 13th at the Minneapolis, Guthrie Theater. The broad range of characters, comical and extremely creative, reminded me why the play’s success has run for four decades. Ebenezer Scrooge, played by J.C. Cutler, brought the audience through an emotional and psychological journey of what it is like to live with an accumulation of regrets after a long life of miserly living.
The artistic staff out did themselves with beautiful costumes, life like scenery and a stage that made me feel as though I was a part of the story. The play, produced and directed like a musical, was enjoyable to watch. There was several joy filled dances, choreographed to captivate attention. Along with entertaining dances, stellar acting and harmonized choirs sang throughout. The broad range of talent packed the stage from beginning to end.
The story of Scrooge compels us to reflect and evaluate how we’ve treated others in relationships with us. Despite Ebenezer Scrooge’s defensive posture and deep desires to deny his mean and nasty existence, ghosts (from the past, present and future) forced him to face the truth of his past behavior. I would submit that most of us (at times) resist evaluating regrets or embrace critically analyzing emotionally uncharted terrain with enthusiasm. Like Scrooge, recognizing areas of weakness takes some outside prompting.
Even so, A Christmas Carol, explores what could happen if humans don’t take responsibility for ways we hurt others in the past, as well as how it benefits us when we’re given the chance to repair harm created. The play reminds us to explore our lives with compassion and forgiveness as a pathway to healing and increased happiness.
Given the story line, which underscores what it means to have a positive relationship with oneself and others, the nostalgic characters showed us a new way of thinking about challenging content. Those who danced with joy and acted with conviction, created an inspiring experience. The play helps us all to remember that holidays are a time of giving generously through heartfelt communications. And, while it is easy to focus on relationship deficits and ways we’ve felt failed, we all do better when kind reconciliation paves the way.