“A Christmas Carol” to be streamed digitally as a radio play

Christmas Carol

Photo courtesy of Ryan Stevens VIRTUAL THEATRE— Students prepare for “A Christmas Carol” by rehearsing lines through zoom several times a week.

Ruby Simoneau

NMU’s Department of Theatre and Dance has found new ways to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic by uploading its performances digitally as well as streaming this year’s holiday production, “A Christmas Carol,” as a radio play. 

This year’s Fringe Festival, North x North Coast, was streamed online on Nov. 17-22. It featured shorter works of dance, music, art and film produced by NMU students and theatre faculty.

All of the productions were filmed and compiled into two separate shows and then streamed digitally, said Sylvia Bednarczyk, sophomore and theatre major. 

 “I think we adapted very well and very quickly,” said Benarczyk. “This production team was very good about communicating—we had a production meeting every week to discuss where we were standing.” 

This year’s holiday special “A Christmas Carol” will also be recorded and streamed online as a radio play in early December. 

Originally, the actors were to be filmed reading their scripts in addition to visuals with voice overs. Due to the recent ordinance moving everything online, however, the production has switched to being solely a radio play, said director and theatre professor Paul Truckey.

The program will show images while the audio is playing, but it won’t be the actual actors on the screen, said Truckey.

The transition to digital performances has been a good learning experience for actors in the theatre world, said senior and theatre major Jacob Laitinen. 

“Although we aren’t able to perform in front of people, which is my favorite part, we still get a chance to flex our muscles,” said Laitinen.  

The actors have been meeting twice a week via Zoom with Truckey to practice reading through their scripts.

 “It’s actually been quite the opportunity for our students to get to do something different,” said Truckey. “Certainly it’s not the same, we don’t have the interaction between the characters and the acting is different, so in that respect I think it’s valuable for them to learn.”

They’ll be using Zoom and a recording program in order to record their audio, said Truckey. Everyone received a microphone and interface that will be connected to the program which will allow their voices to be recorded.

Actors will read their scripts straight through as if it were live.

“I think everyone involved was excited to take on the challenge,” said Laitinen. “When we’ve put on ‘A Christmas Caro’l in the past it’s been the musical version, which is a more modern script. This year we’ve taken bits from the original story, so I think everyone is excited to work with classical language in a way we don’t always get to.”  

The actors will be using the Old English translation which is the original language Dickens used, said Truckey. He believes this version will be more interesting for the audience to listen to. 

“I think it gives a really great feeling of what Dickens was trying to portray in the story,” said Truckey. “It’s just a great holiday story of redemption, belief, and a passion for the holidays.”

“A Christmas Carol” will be streamed Dec. 10-13 starting at 7:30 p.m. A link to the virtual performance will be emailed to ticket holders before their chosen date. 

Tickets are $5 for NMU students and $17 for the general public and can be purchased online at nmu.universitytickets.com.