“A Christmas Carol” performance delights

Elmer Heinrichs

Rod Beattie, a veteran Canadian actor, performs in Gretna, Dec. 8th, in the holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol”. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Rod Beattie, a veteran Canadian actor, performs in Gretna, Dec. 8th, in the holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol”. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)


Arts and Drama and Music lovers converged on the small community of Gretna, Dec. 8th, to hear the presentation of a holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol”, but with a twist. People came from the larger centres of Altona, Winkler and Morden, but also from Miami, Darlingford, Plum Coulee, Lowe Farm and other places, to enjoy a Charles Dickens’ classic brought to life.
The evening was part of Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s regional tour through Manitoba and was arranged here by Southern Manitoba Concerts, which annually organizes a series of performances.  Arriving at the Buhler Hall performance theatre, people entered the warm facility, to the sound of music flowing from the buskers.
In this classic Christmas tale, Rod Beattie, a veteran Canadian actor, appeared here for the third time.  He was familiar to many in the audience for his earlier on-stage performances in RMTC touring productions of Ed’s Garage and Wingfield Unbound.
There is nothing quite like watching Charles Dickens’ famous story, and lively adaptation of A Christmas Carol being brought to life on stage, to put audiences into the holiday spirit.  In his story, Dickens wanted us to see the redemption of Scrooge - an isolated miser, who discovers that the greatest riches are to be found in relationships with others - as a model for our own lives. Cold-hearted and greedy, Ebenezer Scrooge is anything but jolly at Christmas time.  Even his nephew, Fred, and clerk, Cratchit, get nothing but a “bah humbug” when spreading holiday cheer.  But, something shifts when the ghost of his business partner, Marley, visits to save him from his own bitter demise.  The audience just loved the story of how bitter miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, is transformed through the visitations of three ghosts - Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future.
As in his Wingfield Farm productions, Beatie used facial expressions, vocal changes and body language, to depict most of the story’s characters.  His props were minimal and he invited the audience to use their imaginations to help bring each character to life.
Toward the end, Beattie concluded, “It was said of Scrooge that he knew how to keep Christmas well”.   With Tiny Tim’s words, “God Bless Us Everyone”, the audience responded with generous applause and left the theatre just  a little more ready for Christmas, after hearing this classic tale of compassion, hope and redemption that left many hearts glowing.
The next concert in Southern Manitoba Concerts’ 46th season, will feature the return of the highly favoured, Canadian Brass, at the Winkler Bergthaler Church on Sunday, January 14th at             2:30 p.m.   Rush seats will be available at the door.
For further information you may wish to check SMC’s website - southernmanitobaconcerts.org