Published on December 13th, 2015 | by Thomas Ritchie0
Director’s goal: Make Christmas Carol’s fantastical moments real
This month, the Sioux City Community Theatre is producing A Christmas Carol, the Charles Dickens classic that is a Christmas tradition. Deanna Mumgaard, a stage veteran, is directing the show. We got a chance to ask her 5 questions about this show. Show times are scheduled this weekend, and Dec. 17-20. Check the Community Theatre website for show times.
Question: Tell me what attracted you to direct this show.
Answer: I have always loved the book “A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens because it was such a personal depiction of the world he found himself in – Victorian England – and his moral response to a society which had lost its way. The rich were rich on the backs of the poor and there was no in between – something we in our society are very aware of today. So in that sense I felt A Christmas Carol was meaningful still today.
Q: You are directing a Christmas classic. How did you work as a director to make it your own?
A: In order to “make it my own,” I wanted to make sure that the fantastical elements of his story were depicted as a part of reality. (I wanted) the ghosts to be actual people on the street Scrooge had seen or met, the children, Want and Ignorance, don’t magically appear to Scrooge via under the Ghost of Christmas Present’s robe, but are real children who are begging on the street. I wanted the audience to enjoy the subtleties of family life by watching a happy family (the Cratchitts) eat dinner. I wanted it to speak to the audience as if it were real – which I think Dickens was trying to say to his readers.
Q: What are the biggest challenges of working with a tale that’s been told many times before? What are the biggest rewards?
A: The greatest challenges of directing a classic is to not get caught up in clichés which have been developed in the play over time. Also to help it make sense to a modern audience. The greatest reward of doing a classic is seeing what makes it timeless – the foils of humanity that never changes.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this show and why?
A: As a professional actor, I have played the Ghost of Christmas Past several times and loved doing her. In my case I made her bubbly and fun. But I think my favorite character is the Turkey Girl/ Boy – the child Scrooge pulls aside on Christmas morning to go buy a turkey for the Cratchitts. A child alone on the streets of London on Christmas morning- why is that? And then to be in the right place at the right time – some might say that was a depiction of the Holy Spirit at work.
Q: What’s your favorite Christmas memory as a child?
A: I come from a large, mostly loving family, so my Christmas memories are many and wonderful. But the one that I always come to is the night the house was all clean and decorated and waiting for the Christmas guests. The lamps were low and on the stereo was “The Little Drummer Boy” – probably the Ray Coniff singers- and I remember standing next to the staircase, looking around, listening to the quiet music, all in expectation – and loved it.