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“Oh great,” you say. “Another adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Just what we all need.”

I get it. I do. Now, I’m not one to bemoan the ongoing efforts to tell and retell the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge – I love “A Christmas Carol” in just about all of its forms – but I understand if you’re over it. And admittedly, there have been A LOT of different takes on the tale.

But even if you’re a bit of a … well … a bit of a Scrooge about this sort of thing, I urge you to give “Spirited” a chance.

The new film – directed by Sean Anders from a script he co-wrote with John Morris – is a different take on the classic narrative, one that focuses on the mechanisms behind the scenes of the story we all know and love. With a top-tier central pairing, a delightful supporting cast and a frankly astonishing amount of high-energy production numbers (that’s right folks – it’s a musical, and a lavish one at that), it’s a very different take on “A Christmas Carol.”

Different – and delightful.

Published in Movies

BANGOR – A Dickensian classic has been given a whole new look courtesy of a collaboration between Penobscot Theatre Company and Atlanta’s The Object Group.

“A Christmas Carol” is part of PTC’s Digitus Theatrum season, a filmed experience that features iconic local actor Ken Stack not just reprising his beloved portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge, but voicing all of the characters in the Dickens original via his own adaptation of the story. All this is brought to life via the stylized, intricate puppets and puppetry of The Object Group as directed by Michael Haverty.

It’s a visually striking production, with a unique aesthetic that renders it quite unlike any other version of “A Christmas Carol” that you’ve seen. It balances the traditional tone of the story with explorations of both the spookiness and silliness inherent to the tale. A household link – viewable as many times as you like – can be purchased by going to PTC’s website at www.penobscottheatre.org or by contacting the box office at 942-3333.

Published in Buzz

December is here, and hence the holiday season is in full force. The snow has started falling, the lights have started shining and the shopping has started in earnest. Hopefully, you’re out there shopping local whenever you can – a thriving community depends on consumers buying from their neighbors.

But shopping local doesn’t end with retail. You should shop local when it comes to your Yuletide entertainment as well. And here’s the thing – you can do that, because there is an embarrassment of riches out there for locally-offered holiday performance.

Sure, you could sit at home and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the umpteenth time or run through your Christmas Spotify playlist. But where’s the fun in that?

Especially when you take into account that our region is absolutely jammed with possibilities. There are stage shows and concerts galore. There is comedy and drama and so much music. There are holiday classics and brand-new creations. All of it right here in your backyard.

Look, if you want to stay home and drink hot toddies in front of a roaring fireplace, that’s perfectly OK. No judgment – sounds like you’ve figured out what it is you want from the holiday season and life in general. But if you’re looking to be entertained, well … you’re in luck.

In recent years, it seems as though every December has had a wealth of options. But this year more than ever, it feels like there really is something for everyone out there.

Please note that this isn’t even close to everything out there. I’ve just chosen a handful of options that might pique your interest. Keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground, because there is just so much out there, with so many people celebrating with their own joyful noises.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 12 December 2018 16:07

Celebrating a Christmas classic’s return

BANGOR – A beloved holiday classic returned to the Bangor stage recently.

Ten Bucks Theatre Company presented a staged reading of the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” at the Bangor Arts Exchange December 7-9.

There’s no need for synopsis here; everyone is familiar with the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the spirits that helped turn him from a hard-hearted miser into a man with goodwill toward all his fellow man. It’s one of the most beloved Christmas stories in the literary canon.

As a rule, I don’t review performances such as this one, shows that are already fully in the rearview mirror before we go to print. But in this particular case, I'm making an exception. The reason?

Ken Stack.

Published in Buzz

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