Fairbanks Shakespeare Theater performs radio version of “A Christmas Carol”

Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 4:22 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre has recorded an audio performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” which will be broadcast on KUAC, allowing audiences the chance to experience the story during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director Tom Robenolt, who also plays the lead character Ebenezer Scrooge, said “Because it’s radio and it’s all sound, you get to make up the set, or the setting, or the world in your own head. You get to see the characters the way you want to see them.

He said the original hope was to perform the play on stage this year. “We couldn’t do it, so the next best thing that came to my mind was ‘Why don’t we do a radio play?’”

The version of the play written by Arlitia Jones and Michael Evan Haney was adapted by its authors into a shorter, more radio-friendly version according to Robenolt. “It’s got more descriptive things, and changing the language here and there to help the audience, who’s not seeing anything on stage, but hearing everything.”

While the actors performed their scenes together via Zoom, each separately recorded their audio portions.“We’ve got a librarian, and we’ve got teachers and students and people from all different sorts of jobs who are performing in this, and they all do such a great job, so to me that’s the best part of it,” said Robenolt.

These clips were then merged together by Flyn Ludington, who proceeded to add sound effects. “So she’s taking all, say, six, seven actors’ individual recordings and putting them together so that we’ve got the best audio that we can possibly get through this kind of medium,” Robenolt explained.

Paloma Polanco plays several characters in the play, including Belle and Wilhelmina. “It was really a joy to play and be part of,” she said.

“Even though Scrooge himself is a downer, the real joy of the show is that everybody else just loves life. So it’s really fun to play, especially at a time like this,” Polanco said, adding, “Though this year has been really tumultuous and really trying for a lot of people, we can still find joy.”

Robenolt described the play as being “about redemption. It’s a story about ‘it’s never too late’ - you can always change for the better.’”

According to Robenolt, the recordings have been completed, and the show is set to be broadcast on KUAC Christmas Eve from 7-9 p.m. and Christmas Day from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

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