Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Christmas Carol: the new musical

Scrooge's new story, as written by Kris Thor and Joel Bravo, isn't so much about moral redemption as it is about environmental reform, and the lesson here, delivered by a Grim Beekeeper -- as haunting a Christmas Future as can be -- is that it may in fact be too late to "reschedule" our fate. Jason Trachtenburg, a quirky indie-folk singer, plays a Scrooge oblivious to the harm his corporate actions have had on the environment, and even his patented humbug comes at the behest of an exceedingly creepy Christmas Present (Julie LaMendola). The hollow Vortex Theater allows for an informal presentation that has the audience sprawled on opposite lengths of what becomes a narrow hallway, cluttered on both other sides by Christmas Past's archives and Tiny Tim's radio broadcast center. However, the conflict is hard to distinguish amidst all the overlapping tunes -- which is, oddly enough, fine. While the dialogue might not make sense, the songs at least build to a frenzy of conflicting parts, and Act I ends with an appropriately bleak suicide; that of gruff Jacob Marley (Joe Ornstein), who is married to Scrooge's old flame, Belle (Tracy Weller). The music takes as much getting used to as the story; ultimately, the show is more interested in lyrics which are keened than plot points to be gleaned, which makes it the first act of musical absurdism I've ever seen. Bravo?

[Also blogged by: Patrick]

No comments: