Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Carol will receive an update thanks to the Augustana theater department. The new version of the holiday masterpiece is being performed in Daniel J. Sullivan’s Inspecting Carol.
The play tells the story of a Midwestern theatre company as they prepare for their own performance of The Christmas Carol in the midst of several mini crises.
In addition to the lack of preparation and frustration of the actors and crew, the company’s abysmal ticket sales have left it on the verge of bankruptcy. Its only source of funding—a $30,000 grant courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—is in danger of being pulled due to “significant artistic deficit.” Oh, and the actor slated to perform the part of Tiny Tim is not so tiny.
“A lot of things go wrong. Hilarity ensues,” freshman Lorelai Tinaglia said.
Tinaglia plays the part of the theatre company’s director, Karen Emery, who is ‘very nervous’ during most of the play due to the company’s financial difficulties.
“It’s a farce,” junior Christina Olson said.
Olson is deliberately discreet about her character’s role.
“My role is supposed to be a surprise,” Olson said.
Sophomore Matthew Stoffel is serving as the show’s master carpenter and electrician, as well as playing the role of Wayne Wellacre: a character that becomes the source of much consternation among the company.
“He’s a guy who up and decides one day he wants to follow his passion and be an actor,” Stoffel said. “He used to be in data entry. They shoo him away at first, but later they mistake him for an undercover inspector from the NEA and become very accommodating toward him.”
There is a general air of excitement among those involved with the play, as they make final preparations for the performance.
“I’m very ecstatic,” Tinaglia said. “I love comedy.”
“I think this show is hilarious,” Stoffel said. “There are not many scripts I read through that are just laugh-out-loud funny. It should be a really great show for anyone who comes out to see it.”
Others are eager about the prospects of the show for holiday-specific reasons.
“It puts me in the Christmas spirit, even though it’s only November,” Olson said.
Inspecting Carol is the theatre department’s first official production of the season. It runs from Wednesday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Nov. 18. Showtimes include 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 14-17 and 2:30 Nov. 17-18. Tickets are free to Augustana students and faculty, $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens.