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An Immersive, Adventurous Approach to Dickens' Holiday Classic

Naomi Rose-Mock

Director Naomi Rose-Mock admitted this has become pretty much an established holiday tradition in these parts. Although her goal is always to bring something new to the party each time out.

"This is actually our Seventh Annual," she began with just a touch of wonderment in her voice. "This particular adaptation I started in 2013. Every year it's a little bit different, the characters change a little bit, or the music. This year for example we're opening with this grand, Disney-esque fanfare and processional, which is very much larger than we've done before."

And while so many iterations of A Christmas Carol are fairly modest affairs in terms of cast and presentation, Rose-Mock is going for an immersive experience that totally involves the audience.

"We have a cast of 75 and it's in the round so you're surrounded by a wall of sound. There are over 25 Christmas carols in it. The way it's structured is at the beginning and ending of each of the portions or 'staves' the ensemble will function like a Greek chorus and come out and sing different Christmas carols."

A few members of that expansive cast are repeat performers. In the case of Coleen Towey, she’s been in the show every year but one since she was 16.

"I've twice been a Fezziwig daughter - two different ones - for 3 years I played 'Fan,' Scrooge's little sister who tragically passes away. Now I'm playing 'The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come,' which is very spooky and ominous."

That character being spooky and ominous is standard stuff. But, in keeping with her love of taking well-worn plays to unexpected places, Rose-Mock has recast the three spirits who dog Ebenezer Scrooge.

"We've done a little bit of a twist on the ghosts this year,: she explained. "All of them are played by women who played significant parts in Scrooge's life. So his former fiance 'Belle' is the Ghost of Christmas Past, 'Mrs. Fezziwig' is the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is his sister 'Fan.'"

There are plenty of other delightful twists and turns in this production of A Christmas Carol.

"We open on the 19th and we run through the 22nd at Faith Presbyterian Church in the Fellowship hall and you can get tickets at: www.faithpcusa.org/achristmascarol."

A Tallahassee tradition that always finds fresh takes on a story that everybody knows.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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