A holiday tale funny enough to be told twice will soon return to the Theater on the Square as the Pulaski Fine Arts Association presents its 2018 production of “A Dickens Christmas Carol: A Traveling Travesty in Two Tumultuous Acts.”
Last performed by PFAA in 2007, the curtain will rise on this year’s production at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30.
“It’s being done a little differently this time,” explained Rhea Anne Mathews, the play’s director, who has guided the cast and crew since rehearsals began the second week of October.
Written by Mark Landon Smith, the play tells the tale of a troupe of feuding actors who fight for the limelight as they perform their annual holiday production of “A Christmas Carol.”
Gary Akins reprises his role as Sir Selsdon Piddock, who stars in the play-within-a-play in the lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge.
“I looked back at the pictures from 2007, and I noticed there was a lot more brown in my sideburns back then,” Akins said.
The 2007 production was Akins’ first stage play. Having appeared in numerous PFAA productions since that time, Akins said he his more comfortable in the role this time around, although he noted there are “a lot of differences” between the two productions.
“There are a lot of additional scene changes in this one,” he said. “The only part of the set that stayed the same is (Scrooge’s) bedroom. The lead-in is a lot different this time, too. The narrators have this whole routine they’ve developed themselves that I think is going to be very funny.”
Martin Davy and Jamey Pellegrini appear as the narrators, two new roles Mathews added to the production based on the notes in the playbook.
“(The playbook) has these massive introductions of all the characters and the parts they will play,” Mathews said. “So, instead of putting that in the program, we’re doing that with narrators and having the actors come out on stage.”
Lee Jacob appears as Bettina, the troupe’s lead actress and a bit of a prima donna who feuds with her chief rival, Cordelia, played by Maria Whittaker.
“Betinna calls in sick, but two-thirds of the way through the first act she rushes in and fights with Cordelia,” Akins said. “We’re trying to put on a serious play, but there’s pandemonium happening all around us — screaming, fighting, fabric tearing backstage. They’re trying to outdo each other on stage, and we’re all trying to react to that.”
The cast also includes Curtis Wood, Janet Rozmiarek, Tracy Yount and Austin Shrum, all of whom play actors playing multiple roles in “A Christmas Carol.”
“It’s a very good play,” Akins said. “It’s very much an ensemble piece.”
Performances continue at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14 and 15 with a 2:30 p.m. matinee scheduled for Dec. 9. All performances are at the Theater on the Square in downtown Waynesville.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and younger. Tickets are available in advance at the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau and St. Robert Family Dental in St. Robert, and at Lone Oak Printing in Waynesville. For more information, visit the PFAA website at www.pfaa-tots.webs.com.