Confetti Stage’s ‘Mrs. Cratchit’ tweaks Dickens’ classic

Charles Dickens would recognize the setting — 1841 London — but not this particular Mrs. Cratchit. “
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Charles Dickens would recognize the setting — 1841 London — but not this particular Mrs. Cratchit.

“She’s somewhat different than the character Dickens created,” said Joan Meyer, who plays Mrs. Cratchit in “Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge,” which opens Friday at the Albany Masonic Hall and runs through Dec. 18. “She’s not so enamored with being poor. She’s not so goody-goody, and not really into counting her blessings.”

An adaptation of Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol,” “Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge” was written by Christopher Durang and originally performed in Pittsburgh in 2002. This production is being mounted by Confetti Stage.

‘Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge’

WHAT: A Confetti Stage production of a Christopher Durang play

WHERE: Albany Masonic Hall, 4th Floor Theater, 67 Corning Place, Albany

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, and 8 p.m. Dec. 16-18

HOW MUCH: $15

MORE INFO: 242-8015, www.confettistage.com

“This Mrs. Cratchit doesn’t see the charm of being in abject poverty,” said Meyer. “She’s much more of a modern day woman, and this is a Dickens’ story with a twist here and there. People will recognize the characters from ‘A Christmas Carol,’ but this play is Dickens with a few pop culture and Christmas references burned into a blender.”

The production is being directed by Jeffrey P. Hocking, and joining Meyer in the cast is Patrick White as Scrooge.

Meyer, a Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School and University of West Virginia alum, is returning to the stage for the first time in 25 years.

“I did some musicals in high school and was in two plays while I was in Morgantown [W.Va.]” said Meyer. “Then you get busy paying off your student loan and buying a house, and all those typical things you do when you grow up. But at some point you discover how many wonderful theater companies we have here in the Capital Region. It really surprised me, and then after you go to a few great shows you start thinking about auditioning.”

Story for adults

“Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge” is not your typical example of family entertainment.

“It’s definitely for adults, although some adolescents might enjoy it and for some it might be over their heads,” said Meyer. “In terms of family-friendly, it’s not particularly harsh. There might be a couple of naughty words, but nothing they can’t hear on network television. Younger children just wouldn’t get it, but for everybody else there certainly is enough to appreciate, and it’s very humorous.”

Meyer said there are plenty of other wonderful characters in the show.

“Some actors love those real meaty roles, but I really enjoy being part of a talented ensemble,” said Meyer. “Though the title says ‘Mrs. Bob Cratchit,’ it’s really about all of the characters in Dickens’ story. Scrooge is his usual miserly self, and Bob Cratchit is long-suffering as always. People will recognize the characters, and I was very impressed with the cast. They really are a talented group.”

Confetti Stage was created in 2004 by Neil Jones. Its motto is “theatre without limits” and its mission is to “explore the human experience, while illuminating the myriad of diversities which define us as groups and individuals. Confetti Stage promotes diversity and understanding through the creation of dynamic and inspirational productions and educational opportunities.”

Confetti Stage recently came away with 27 Achievement Awards at the recent Theatre Association of New York State’s (TANYS) 2010 Festival in Batavia. An original play by Rensselaer County resident Diane M. Doring, “Holy Night,” was performed by Confetti Stage at the festival and earned “Most Outstanding” recognition from a panel of judges.

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