A Christmas Carol comes to Coralville this weekend


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On the stage at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts during the month of December, audiences will see Scrooge rushing to find the true spirit of the holiday season.

"It's a well-done adaptation, and [Scrooge] is a really interesting character; it is a challenge to bring him to life," said Scott Strode, who plays Scrooge. "It is truly a family show; it is fast-paced with lots of carols and lots of people."

The adaptation of the classic novel A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, is directed by Liz Tracy, and it will come to life this holiday season in a production by City Circle Acting Company.

Performances will run Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., Friday through Dec. 18 at the Coralville Center for Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth St. Admission is $22 for the general public, $17 for seniors and students and $12 for children 10 and under. Premium seating is available for $27.

Stage manager and Iowa City native Lena Short said the show runs without an intermission to be a faster-paced, dialogue-heavy performance. While the narration is important, the main goal of the play is to not so much tell the story but to show it.

There are several different stage adaptations of the timeless story, and this version is one that was also produced at the Seattle Children's Theater, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis.

"This show relies a lot on the light cues and sound effects to tie in with what the actors are saying," Short said. "[These effects] give a realistic touch and bring the timeline into perspective for the audience."

Set in Victorian London, the actors all use British accents to bring an authentic sound to the production along with rich, professional costumes.

Dialect coach Brett Myers, a UI graduate student in speech pathology with a background in acting and coaching speech, has instructed the cast members.

"We are trying to sound like people from London, so I work with all of the actors to put on these accents," he said. "I learned how to take any accent and teach it to actors; it plays in with my speech-pathology training."

Myers was amazed that the kids in the production had such a quick response to learning the British accents and were able to pick it up the fastest.

"It's unbelievable, really — as soon as we started using the accents, the kids just ran with it," he said. "Everyone is doing a great job; it feels as if you really are watching British actors, and that was our goal."

The accents that the cast must master as well as rich costumes that fits the play's era are important aspects that will make the performance a realistic portrayal of the story in its original time period of the mid-1800s.

"[This play] is a commentary on Dickens's day and the life of the times," Strode said.

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