Oceanside Theatre Company’s “A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play” Brings Back Memories
By TR Robertson — Artistic Director Ted Leib’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic tale of redemption and a second chance at living a well-meaning life harkens back to a time when the radio was a large part of each family’s life. I remember laying in front of the radio when I was very young, patiently waiting for 9 o’clock to roll around one week before Christmas, when a ½ hour mystery program came on with a story about Santa Claus getting kidnapped by nefarious people and the possibility that Christmas would not happen that year. As fate would have it, Santa was rescued on Christmas Eve and all of our anxiety would be put to rest and we could peacefully go to bed knowing Santa would be able to deliver us our presents, as long as we have been nice, not naughty.
Photos by Ken Jacques
Leib also directed the Oceanside Theatre production which featured a cast of 7 veteran adult actors and actresses and one very talented young actresses who also had a number of theatrical productions to her credit. The play is presented in a format reminiscent of a radio story broadcast from the 1940’s. The actors and actresses were seated behind a row of microphones and would approach the mics as their parts surfaced in the production. The classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his dealings with 4 ghosts (counting Jacob Marley) on Christmas Eve was narrated by Cris O’Bryon, an actor well known to San Diego County theatre goers. He is a classically trained singer and voice over artist and runs a private studio specializing in voice. His deep, bass voice was the perfect match for the reading of the Scrooge tale.
Not only would the actors and actresses be required to play a number characters, fitting each character with a different sounding voice depending on the character, but several of them would provide background sounds, such a dragging chains or slamming doors. They would also don various articles of clothing to fit their characters as they approached the mics. Many in the cast have performed on the Oside Theatre Stage in past productions, as well as throughout the county.
Ebenezer Scrooge is played by Edward Howell, new to the Oceanside theatre stage. Playing the beleaguered employee Bob Cratchit and other roles is Adam Daniel. His wife, Mrs. Cratchit is played by Renetta Lloyd, also playing other roles. The Ghost of Christmas Present, a Charity solicitor, Fezziwig and a Mourner is played by Tom Brault. Rae Henderson plays Belle, Fred’s wife, a laundress, a Debtor’s wife and other part. Making his professional debut as an actor is Alex Tanner. Tanner has a wonderfully ominous voice as the deceased friend of Scrooge, Jacob Marley. He also plays Fred, young Scrooge, a Mourner and a Debtor. Tanner also introduces the audience to WOTC Radio from Oceanside and signs off the production. The youngest member of the cast and a young actress with tremendous stage presence is Catallina Zelles, who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past, Martha Cratchit and a boy in the street.
Assisting Leib as his Creative Team is Sound Designer Violet Ceja, Scenic and Projection Designer Zachary Elliott, Costume Designer Renetta Lloyd, Sound Mixer Jeremy Waits and managing her first show with Oside Theatre as Stage Manager, Alexa Emmenegger. Elliott’s classic projections behind the actors and actresses consisted of classic drawings from various publications of Dicken’s classic tale.
The Holiday Season is a great time to experience some of the traditional stories from the Christmas Season. Taking in the Oceanside Theatre production of “A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play” is a great way to step back to a simpler time we will never experience again, except through productions such as the one on the Oside Stage.
Oceanside Theatre will continue the play through December 23rd on Friday thru Sundays. Oceanside Theatre Company is located in the old Brooks Theatre at 217 N. Coast Highway. Tickets are available at 760-433-8900 or go to www.oceansidetheatre.org.