JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
By Tom Mula
Directed by Casey Kringlen
It’s a brisk Friday night as the chill seeps in to every pocket of open air and I see a door with a dim red light hanging above it. Worn paint situates on the wall just beside the light that reads: Six 01. A theatre only recognizable by the iron frame over the door and a painted word. I enter. Inside is a warehouse. As I walk up the concrete steps, to my left is a caged sitting area and directly in front of me a man dressed in a gray tweed-like jacket wearing a Santa hat and a charming smile. It’s the Director/Producer Casey Kringlen there to greet those of us who braved the unusual Los Angeles cold front to feast on a bit of true New-York-style live theatre. There is a warning that cookies will be given and blankets will be encouraged. Taking a seat after ordering a hot chocolate, it begins.
Approximately 25 folded chairs cleverly make a perfect square with an open space in the middle. There is a fog machine pumping a heavy veil of mist and soon after the 4 performers emerge in Santa Hats, black jeans and hooded sweatshirts, tins of brownie chocolate chip cookies, and a simple dance off to get the crown engaged. After the momentary burst of energy, the lights go out and the performers begin their artistic display of a tale almost everyone knows. With a much more raw take on the infamous holiday story, Jacob Marley’s A Christmas Carol, writer Tom Mula dives much deeper into the spirit of Christmas and the internal struggles we all must overcome. With a story so familiar, finding anyone to give it fresh appeal can (and often is) a challenge. That said, this was by far my favorite version to date. With the grit of true theatre without the use of any extensive props or fancy costuming, this performance was nothing short of raw, honest, beautiful performance art. Directed by Casey Kringlen, tonight’s play was genius.
Acted with conviction and tremendous heart by Keri Blunt, Jeff Elam, Ian Andrew Jones, and Travis Stanberry, (and the sound effects technician/musician whose name I didn’t get) the story of those spirits who have left this world only to revel in their mistakes, regrets, and uncertainty hits home. You can see it on the faces of those watching that this is more than a childhood story. Tonight, this story was about what we SHOULD be doing in life. The risks we need to take, the love we need to offer, the compassion we must show, the empathy we must possess, and the hope that is essential to our survival. With moments of laughter, outcry of emotion, the sting of greed, the heaviness of loveless-ness, the hope for change within not only in Scrooge but in all of us who witnessed, this is like a carefully portrayed painting. Every movement, every word, spoken in such a way that unless you really are truly dead, you cannot miss the importance of this message. I hope everyone takes the time to spend the following weekend – the 28-29th – purchasing tickets and making their way to dark and seedy depths of Downtown Los Angeles to have a well worthwhile soul-stirring two hours.
Anyone who is a fan of New York or San Francisco theatre, this is devoted to you. For those who are willing to embark on a journey that will beg you to utilize your imagination and then ask you to look within yourself, this is also meant for you. I applaud every one of tonight’s actors who managed to master at least 3 different dialects each with sheer perfection. Every actor stood out – no one more than another. This was art in motion. This was unapologetic theatre and I for one am so grateful to have experienced it. *Tip: Bundle up. It gets cold in there!
November 30 – December 29
Regular Fridays 12/21 & 12/28; Saturdays 12/22 & 12/29
8pm & 10:30pm | Regular $34
TICKETS: Available online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/298333,
or via phone at (800) 838-3006.
Six01 Studio | 601 S. Anderson Street | Downtown LA, 90023.
JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
Written by Tom Mula Directed by Casey Kringlen
Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol is a contemporary fairy tale that reignites the classic Dickens story. Chained and shackled, Marley is condemned to a hellish eternity and even given his own private tormentor: a malicious little hell-sprite who thoroughly enjoys his work. Desperate, Marley signs his very last contract in an attempt to free himself. To escape his own chains, he must first redeem Scrooge. And so begins a journey of laughter and terror, renewal and redemption. Can Scrooge’s heart be cracked by someone as wicked as himself?