Ebenezer Scrooge is back in town and onstage at Ten Bucks Theatre Company’s new space, a short walk from Santa at the Bangor Mall.
The miserly old coot made a brief visit downtown last year for a staged reading, but this holiday season he’s starring in Bangor’s first full-blown production of “A Christmas Carol” since 2011.
Ken Stack, who has played Scrooge more times than he can remember, leads an ensemble cast in a lovely and lively show that captures all of the redemption, hope and joy with which Charles Dickens infused his Christmas novella, first published in 1843.
Director Aimee Gerow chose to use a script adapted by Mark Torres, who was the producing artistic director for the Penobscot Theatre Company from 1992 to 2005. He adapted the play his first season in Bangor. Torres used much of Dickens’ language to create a show that could be performed by a cast of between 10 and 30 performers.
Gerow uses a cast of 10, including Stack, who range in age from a seventh-grader to a couple of actors approaching senior-citizenhood. All but Stack play multiple parts and, together, act as a narrating ensemble.
The director uses a couple of props, a wooden ladder, some large wooden boxes and a few costume pieces to move the action from one place to another and transform actors from one character into another. To Gerow’s credit, the sparse production works nicely in the former retail clothing store.
Stack has played Scrooge hundreds of times in large and small venues. He has a history of portraying loud men with overgrown personalities, including Roy Cohn in “Angels in America” and William Shakespeare’s King Lear. For this production, the actor expertly portrays a quieter Scrooge more suitable to Ten Bucks’ small space than the one he brought many times to the Bangor Opera House stage.
This puts the focus on Dickens’ storytelling prowess. It also makes Scrooge more human and less of a buffoon than he has seemed in larger venues. Stack’s performance in the intimate 100-seat theater makes Scrooge’s transformation sincere and heartfelt.
The ensemble collaborates well together, with all the actors pretty much equally talented. Nathan Roach as Scrooge’s nephew Fred and the Ghost of Christmas Past, Bernard Hope as Bob Cratchit, Sue Amero as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Joshua Lorenzo as Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come are standouts.
The addition of risers since the company’s first performance at the mall means there is not a bad seat in the house.
Watching Ten Bucks’ “A Christmas Carol” is like being curled up at home before a crackling fire while a beloved grandparent reads you Dickens’ tale. It is a delightful experience that expertly conveys the joy the Christmas season holds for many, young and old.
Ten Bucks Theatre Company’s production of “A Christmas Carol” will be performed through Dec. 15 at the Bangor Mall. For ticket information, visit tenbuckstheatre.org or its Facebook page.