BREWER, Maine — At first glance, the Wednesday, Dec. 3, production of “A Christmas Carol” might seem a somewhat routine event for this time of year. After all, the play has been a staple for the holiday season ever since Charles Dickens wrote it in 1843.
But the production being planned cooperatively between Rich Kimball, a Brewer school administrator, and Ken Stack, a teacher of entertainment technology at New England School of Communications, is anything but routine.
The play is being produced as a live radio broadcast and requires adaptation to three media — a radio broadcast, a television filming and a live audience.
The play will be shown at 8 p.m. at Brewer Middle School auditorium, 5 Somerset St.
Stack, who will be involved in his 27th production of “A Christmas Carol,” said the live radio broadcast version presents some real challenges, both orally and visually, in the writing of the scripts to serve all three mediums at once.
“A Christmas Carol” is the supernatural story of elderly businessman Ebenezer Scrooge’s redemption from his mean-spirited, miserly ways.
This unique adaptation will create the environment of a 1940s radio company, dubbed the River City Radio Players, complete with antique microphones and fictitiously sponsored by “Freeze’s Department Store,” a bit of Fifth Avenue on Main Street.
The show will serve as a valuable learning experience for several NESCom students.
Radio broadcast students will be among the actors and will handle the over-the-air presentation on Husson University’s radio station, WHSN 89.3. Video students will record the production for possible use later on by cable access channels or public television, and audio engineering students will handle the sound effects and microphones.
NESCom’s mobile unit will also be staffed by students.
The cast will include 10 actors performing some 30 roles.
Rich Kimball, a veteran actor and radio broadcaster, will play the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Ken Stack, a veteran theater producer as well as actor, will play Ebenezer Scrooge, a role he has taken on 20 or more times.
Adam Kuykendall will play Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s employee; and Mike Abernathy will play Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s deceased partner. Both have appeared regularly in Penobscot Theatre productions. Dress rehearsals are scheduled to start near the end of November.
A total of 25 people, including community members and NESCom students, will be involved in the production.
Stack is understandably enthusiastic about this unique production.
“Nothing tells the story of the holiday spirit like Charles Dickens’ classic,” he said. Additionally, it provides NESCom students “a real-world experience in a multiplatformed event.”
A minimal admission fee will be charged to defray electrical expenses. Actors will not be paid, because “we are doing this for the fun of it,” according to Stack.