Human Race production of A Christmas Carol ‘delightful’
The legendary Christmas play, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, arrives like an invasion every holiday season. It seems that every theater venue sports Tiny Tim and Scrooge in some of their many personae.
I have made a studied effort to avoid the play thinking that I was much too much of a theater buff to fall for the often saccharine story. Bah Humbug! The show put on by the Human Race Theatre Company was delightful!
The revival of Leigh Allen and Scott Stoney’s adaptation of the tale, playing at the Loft Theatre, caught our fancy. It wasn’t the story, everyone knows it line for line, character by character. It was the interesting cast assembled by directors Kevin Moore and Scott Stoney which led us to break our negative habit concerning A Christmas Carol.
Of all the superb actors, it was our old friend Fred Blumenthal’s minor role which led us to the play. For more than 40 years, we have seen Fred in a myriad of roles. The last decade he has specialized in aged curmudgeon parts. Even without make-up, he is ideally suited for these characters.
The concept of the play was most refreshing. The story was spun out as a play-within-a-play. A happy family, gorgeously arrayed in 19th century costumes gathers for a Christmas celebration. The kids, and they are darling and ever so clever, wait to hear the familiar story again. Father Bob Cratchit begins, with the little ones prompting, “Jacob Marley is dead!”
Then, step by carefully choreographed step, the plot unfolds using a most appealing and kinetic set by Terry Stump to the fullest. Panels unfolded, furniture was whisked away and replaced effortlessly by the cast. The happy home scene became Scrooge’s Spartan office and his shabby rooms. The streets were alive and suddenly spotlights let the ghosts/spirits dominate the scenes.
We are introduced to Scrooge as a guest in the happy home scene. Reluctantly, he sits at his desk and dons a scowl. Mark Douglas-Jones made a spectacular debut with “The Race.” He became a Scrooge you loved from the first instant as his grimaces and tantrums always signaled a joyous redemption. Bob Cratchit and his wife were played by a pair of very attractive and talented actors, Travis Horseman, in debut, and Christine Brunner, returning to the Loft stage.
The character actors set the play into delightful motion. Resident star Kay Bosse seemed to be everywhere spreading her feigned matronly presence. WSU grad Claire Kennedy is lovely and made that clear in her several parts.
Again in various guises, resident star Alan Bomar Jones, returning Jennifer Johansen, Peter Fitzkee and WSU student star J.J. Tiemeyer gave the play spin and energy. Jones always has a special presence on stage. When he appeared, robed and bare-chested as the Spirit of Christmas Present, he nearly stopped the show.
Jennifer Johansen is well-remembered as Lady Capulet in last February’s Romeo and Juliet. She was described as stunning then and deserves it even more as the blithe spirits of Christmas Past and Future.
J.J. Tiemeyer brings an irrepressible energy to every role. His handsome presence can be the focus of a scene without dominating it. He sings, dances, acts with the same versatility as our own iconic Scott Stoney. He graduates this year and will be, I promise, a star of the future.
And the kids! Brother and sister Maria and Jacob Boyd and Kyle Mercuri are respectively 3rd, 6th and 9th graders. Collectively, they are darling, brimming with talent and joy.
Seeing A Christmas Carol after a multi year hiatus was a renewal. I can avow that if you don’t enjoy this clever romp playing at the Loft through December 21st – Bah Humbug!
A Christmas Carol at The Loft Theatre
A Christmas Carol – The Human Race Theatre Company presents a new adaptation of the Dickens classic, complete with carols, through December 21 at The Loft Theatre.
All evening performances at 7 p.m. to accommodate families. Also, matinees 2 p.m. Sundays and 1 p.m. Sat. Dec. 20.
Tickets and more info at (937) 228-3630 or www.humanracetheatre.org. Group sales at (937) 461-3823.
Artist photos on display at Brown Street shop
Oakwood resident and amateur photographer Toshio Tamaki was born in China and raised in Japan. He retains his Japanese nationality. He lived in the Boston area for 19 years and moved to Dayton in 1989. Since then he has lived in Oakwood with his wife and two children and two dogs.
While he has been working for one of the major national staffing agencies as an executive in the international division, photography has been his passion and he has produced numerous art prints and two published books. His main interest is to interpret the world in juxtaposition of the real and surreal, preserving the incidents as timeless moments.
Brown Oak Studio, 860 Brown St., has 23 black and white prints from Tamaki’s book, The Stranger, on display at the store through Dec. 29.
DVAC presents juried Members' Show: Mosaic/Chimera
The Dayton Visual Arts Center presents a Juried Members’ Show: Mosaic/Chimera, on view through Jan. 2 in the NCR Gallery at DVAC, 118 N. Jefferson St., Downtown Dayton.
DVAC members were invited to submit artwork in any media and size to be considered for Mosaic/Chimera, a themed, juried members’ exhibition dealing with how divergent parts are combined to create an integrated whole.
The DVAC gallery, at 118 N. Jefferson St., in downtown Dayton, is free and open to the public six days each week, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday - Saturday and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Also in the gallery during this time is the ever-popular ARTtoBUY Holiday Gift Gallery, a seven-week shopping extravaganza available until Dec. 27. For more information, visit www.daytonvisualarts.org or call (937) 224-3822.
Cityfolk recipient of 2009 Governor’s Award
Cityfolk, Dayton’s traditional arts organization, has been chosen as a recipient of the prestigious Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio for 2008. The organization will receive the award in the category of Community Development and Participation
for its collaborative efforts relating to the Cityfolk Festival, annual season of events, skills-based education programs and innovative Culture Builds Community initiative.
On hearing the news, Cityfolk Executive Director John Harris said, “After a quarter century of putting Miami Valley residents in touch with their own heritage and the traditions of their neighbors, we are absolutely delighted with this statewide recognition.”
The organization’s cornerstone Cityfolk Festival features music and dance from around the world while showcasing Ohio’s finest artists each July. A concert series encompassing music from Europe, Asia, South America, Europe, Africa and across the U.S. sits at the center of a year round program of concerts and educational workshops.
The awards have a history of being more frequently presented to organizations in Ohio’s larger cities. This year, Dayton is home to two recipients. In addition to Cityfolk, a pillar of Dayton’s arts community, Willis “Bing” Davis will receive this year’s Irma Lazarus Award for his extraordinary achievements in the field of fine arts as both an educator and visual artist.
Awards will be presented at a luncheon ceremony honoring winners and members of the Ohio Legislature hosted by the Ohio Arts Council and Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation at noon on April 1, 2009 at the Columbus Athenaeum in downtown Columbus. Winners will receive an original work of art by New Carlisle painter Jean Koeller.
December 16, 2008
Volume 17, No. 51
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