Read highlights below from Warren Gerds’ review of JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL!
“High octane!” “A diabolically good play!” “(Alan Kopischke delivers) a tour-de-force!” “Real-deal theatre in Sturgeon Bay!” –Warren Gerds, WFRV-TV Green Bay
‘Marley’ High Octane in Sturgeon Bay
Imagine a concert violinist performing a two-part program of almost two hours of material without a score. All the shadings, the shifts, the nuances, the concentration, the drive, the delivery.
Kopischke is the central moving part in “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol,” running for 10 more performances at the professional Third Avenue Playhouse.The other “moving parts” are off stage: The knowing, detailed hand and head of director Robert Boles. The swiftly and timely actions with cues of stage manager Logan Thomas. The intellect and inventiveness of playwright Tom Mula.Mula’s name is familiar to many people in the area through his acting and directing – plus another play he wrote – for Peninsula Players Theatre in Fish Creek. “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” is his high-wire act in writing. Mula take Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and refashions it with this concept:In “A Christmas Carol,” miserable miser Ebenezer Scrooge is redeemed. Starting him on that path is a ghostly visit by his partner in avarice, Jacob Marley, seven years dead and hauling chains. So, if Scrooge is redeemed, what happens to Marley? After all, Marley righted that foundering, money-laden ship (Scrooge). Answers are in “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol,” told from the perspective of Marley.
As an actor, Kopischke is the digging, delving sort in the first place. This material is in his wheelhouse. Like turning on and off a light switch, Kopischke shifts voicing, expression, body language, demeanor and attitude alignment.
As the characters come and go, Mula’s script mines minds and souls while Kopischke goes through tremendous shifts in an ever-changing landscape of light and sound.
The production is quite a visual-audio-heady thing – something of a feat to make happen. Mula traces Scrooge’s story while giving it Marley’s spin. Things that happen in “A Christmas Carol” largely happen in this play. Mula has Dickens-like add-ons. The Record Keeper is funny as Marley stands before him for the first time when he says, “I’m afraid you’ve come up short in your account” (his good points while on Earth). Marley suffers dearly early on in his transgression-counting, then realizes worse lies ahead and he gets it, ironically, as he says he is “beginning to appreciate the idea of damnation.” Scrooge is darkly comical, too, as he sizes up Marley on their first meeting, offering a snarky (what else?) assessment of the chain-and-cashbox-dragging Marley as “a ghost tricked out like a fourth-grade Hamlet.”There’s a whole lot in “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol,” a diabolically good play. Kopischke’s role is of the tour-de-force type – not many actors are able (or willing) to take it on – and he has help getting there. It is real-deal theater in Sturgeon Bay.
To read Warren Gerds full review, click here.
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