I have admitted to really being in the holiday spirit these days. I’ve started breaking out the Christmas scarves and this particular pair of specs always makes me feel like Mrs. Claus. I need a little red mob-cap with white lace trim . . .
Saturday only further cemented my festive feelings. Benny and I headed to Montgomery late in the afternoon for our evening at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. We are both big fans of “A Christmas Carol” (our favorite film version being from 1951 and starring the incomparable Alistair Sim as Scrooge) and we sat tonight and counted up. It is five times we’ve seen ASF’s various stagings of Dickens’ classic tale (another year I was seriously ill and unable to attend). By attending one of the two preview performances (the show doesn’t officially open until early December) we scored great seats (second row) for a very reasonable price.
I had to confess it was not my favorite of the adaptations they have presented. It had a somewhat sluggish second act that could have used some tightening up. Nonetheless it was very enjoyable, ASF’s customary high-caliber production, with lots of talented actors, detailed costumes and sets, and good use of the Festival Theatre’s revolving stage and trap door and lots of atmospheric stage fog.
One thing I did really like about this version was adding Dickens himself as a sort of narrator and actor within the play, taking on roles such as Fred’s dim-witted but good-hearted friend, Topper. Dickens , who went on tours where he gave readings in which he performed portions of his novels for the audiences, was also an enthusiastic amateur magician who performed for his large family, and several magic tricks were incorporated into the play.
The author also seems to be pulling invisible strings as the master puppeteer, causing bells to ring, thunder to crash, and mysterious figures to rise up in the fog . . .
And I do love how it “snows” at the end of each production. I like to look around and watch the faces of children in the audience, who are clearly delighted to see the white stuff–even if it isn’t the real thing. You don’t see a lot of snow in Lower Alabama. And Tiny Tim was downright adorable.
Before the play, several of the production’s carolers, clad in Victorian costume, performed Christmas classics in the front lobby, with the giant statue of Shakespeare looming behind them, a festive wreath of holly adorning his brow and another in his hands. I was wishing I had my camera with me. Benny tried to take some photos with his phone, but–they didn’t turn out, alas. Knowing I couldn’t take photos of the actual play, I hadn’t packed the trusty Olympus. Always be prepared!
Not only did I get to enjoy this classic holiday tale on stage, I also got to do some shopping, my feet comfortably enclosed in a pair of red leather high-top Nikes that Benny dug out of the closet for me. My beloved “elf shoes” of years past, red suede Reeboks, have had to be retired. But with the colorful holiday ribbon I found at Target and the jingle bells I should find in the multi-purpose room, my elf shoes will return! Now I know what my go-to footwear will be this Christmas season.
I was trying to find a copy of the Rolling Stone’s Hobbit issue, but had no luck there. However, Benny came through once again for me. His sharper eyes discovered a Hobbit Tribute magazine dedicated to our friends at TheOneRingNet. So naturally I had to snap that up. Benny and I also looked over the Hobbit/LOTR display at the big book store we were visiting.
Funny thing is, I seem to already have a lot of it—books, Thorin’s action figure . . . who’d a thunk it? Ah, Thorin . . . will it only be three weeks now from tomorrow that I finally see him in glorious 3D? It shall, it shall!!
And then I come home later and see that new photo of Richard at the airport after a 24-hour flight on Servetus’ blog and am gobsmacked at how fine he looks. Good grief, imagine this on the red carpet. The mind boggles. The heart palpitates. Drool seems to be forming in the corner of the mouth.
It’s freezing cold tonight after another big atmospheric change here. But I feel snug and warm and not just from my cozy PJs and the layers of blankets and the cuddly tuxedo cat on my feet. Feeling all holly jolly–and having new Armitage goodness to contemplate–warms the very cockles of a girl’s heart. Have a happy Sunday/Monday, my dears.
Oh, and I almost forgot. My beloved Alabama Crimson Tide beat their archrivals, the Auburn Tigers, 49-0. They were pulling first string players off the field by the fourth quarter to give them a rest and keep from further running up the score. Now we have bragging rights until this time next year and a good chance at another National Collegiate Championship, which would make it two in a row. Rooollllllll Tide!