Like your drunk uncle slurring "Jingle Bells" and your nieces and nephews whining over whose turn it is to mess around with the new Wii games, Ebenezer Scrooge's iconic humbugging is an irreplaceable sound bite from many Americans' Christmases.
But what would Scrooge's tale of rebirth be without the ominous haunting from his deceased, morally wayward business partner, Jacob Marley? A one-man show coming to the Actor's Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre will explore this intriguing, terrifying character starting December 7 when it brings playwright Tom Mula's Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol to its stage.
Chained, shackled, and condemned to a hellish
eternity, Marley seeks desperately to free himself and escape his own
chains -- a feat he can accomplish only by saving Scrooge's at-risk
Actors' Playhouse artistic director
David Arisco, who is also directing the production, said the story is a
lot more than a spin on Dickens' original work.
"It's a really intelligent little play," Arisco said. "You know Marley is forced to walk his life for eternity carrying the chains that bound him and [reflect] how he treated his fellow man. So Marley has his own journey and his own reflections to make to change, even though he's already passed on. He actually goes through a change of his own, which is very smart, and very funny."
He said the play was a challenging one for any actor, but that he knew South Florida stage veteran Ken Clement could handle it -- especially since he'd done it before. Arisco first saw the play performed ten years ago at the New Theatre, with Clement at the helm.
"It's a different way of telling the tale than the way they did ten years ago, but he gets a chance to reprise his work now that he's ten years older and has done another 25 plays. And I also get to explore the work and my vision of the story," he said.
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"Jacob Marley's a very haunting character and that's how we'll remember him," Arisco continued. "The idea of Marley is something that we all have a vision of. You know, Jacob Marley being the knocker, or that vision of Jacob Marley in chains coming into Scrooge's bed chambers on Christmas Eve, but how much do we know about him and how he lived his life compared to Scrooge, except the little things that Dickens said along the way about the character? So it's really an interesting twist on a Christmas Carol, but it goes even further than a twist because it creates its own work and its own journey," Arisco said.
With one talented performer playing over a dozen roles, the production will induce laughter, tears, and exponential growth of your good will toward men, the director promised.
Jacob Marley's A Christmas Carol runs Wednesday through Sunday (with exceptions) from December 7 to January 1 at the Miracle Theatre. Performances are at 8 p.m. or 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15 to $48. Go to actorsplayhouse.org or call 305-444-9293.