Two Scrooges in one play? That’s the kind of challenge Karen Christina Jones can’t wait to tackle.
The Classic Theater Guild’s holiday offering at Proctors’ Fenimore Gallery this year will be “A Radio Christmas Play,” directed by Jones and written by Ed Bablin and Jonathan Riven.
The story is set in a small fictional town in the lower Adirondacks at a radio station preparing to perform a live broadcast of “A Christmas Carol.” The CTG production begins Friday night and runs through Dec. 13.
“It’s a very clever adaptation of Dickens’ classic, set in a radio station in Warren County, New York, and the entire staff has to perform this live version of the show, and their boss is Scrooge,” said Jones.
Very different take
“There are so many versions of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ but this one is so fresh, and very different from what you’ve seen before.”
‘A Radio Christmas Play’
WHERE: Fenimore Gallery, Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
WHEN: Opens 7:30 p.m. Friday and runs through Dec. 13; show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sunday at 2 p.m., and a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 12
HOW MUCH: $18.50-$15.50
MORE INFO: 387-9150, 346-6204, or www.classictheaterguild.com
Bablin, one of the founders of the Classic Theater Guild in 2003, has worked with Riven before, and the pair have also authored plays on their own.
“We’ve both worked in radio before, and the idea of a play within a play, with the idea of a Scrooge being the owner of the radio station, was a concept we both liked,” said Bablin. “It’s great to see our Scrooge, the owner, also going through his own metamorphosis.”
The opportunity to put their own spin on Scrooge and the story was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.
‘I’ve always been a fan of the original classic story, and I’ve always loved the idea of redemption, and how it’s never too late for anyone to turn another leaf,” said Bablin. “I also liked the idea of it set in contemporary times because it is a story for all time. You could put it in any culture, any time, and it still works.”
Director has free rein
Jones was happy to report that Bablin and Riven agreed to give her free rein in directing their play.
“I’ve known Ed for 20 years now and I’m so happy that he and Jonathan trust me enough to let me direct the show,” she said. “They told me, ‘this is your baby now, and you go for it,’ and I really appreciate that. Fortunately I have an incredible cast and this very hard-working and talented crew to help me.”
Glenn Read, also one of the founders of the Classic Theater Guild and currently the president, is returning to the stage after directing “12 Angry Men” in 2014 and “Inherit the Wind” in 2013, both for CTG.
Also in the cast are Earl Belcher, a former basketball standout at St. Bonaventure University and an area jazz musician, and Julia Jaster, a Schalmont graduate and a freshman at Schenectady County Community College.
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or [email protected]