christmas carol

Auditions for “A Christmas Carol” begin next week. Alexander City Theatre II will stage the play in early December with a cast of 23 to 30 local townspeople including parts for 11 men and several children of all ages.

Patti Smith will direct the production, which features Charles Dickens himself telling the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from a sour and unhappy miser to a generous soul filled with the Christmas spirit.

“We will be doing John Jakes’ version of the play with some pretty creative scene changes,” said Smith, who directed Our Town for ACT II  in 2017 and has appeared in several ACT II productions.

Jakes’ version of the play is based on reading tours Charles Dickens made across the U.S. in the mid-1800s. The author was renowned as an amazing reader and actor, and as the tours progressed he had to be sneaked in and out of theaters to avoid being mobbed by his fans.

The ACT II production will open with Dickens at one of his reading performances. As he relates the tale, actors and scenery will emerge on stage, and his narrative will transition from scene to scene.

“The timing of these vignettes will be very important in this play because furniture and actors will need to appear, seemingly out of nowhere; and then, disappear as another scene begins,” Smith said. “We’ll have a lot of fun with this play. It will be a great holiday activity for families to do together, a classic story that has real meaning for the Christmas season.”

The show will feature period costumes, as well, Smith said.

Auditions will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12; from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14; and from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15 at the ACT II Fine Arts Center located at 216 Tallapoosa St. in Alexander City (across state Route 22 from Strand Park).

Rehearsals will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays with breaks for Halloween and Thanksgiving, and performances will be held the first full weekend of December at the Benjamin Russell auditorium.

In addition to acting roles, volunteers are needed for behind-the-scenes tasks, including costuming, set building, stage crew and more. For information, come to auditions, email actheatreii@gmail.com or call Smith at 256-750-7153.

ACT II is the area’s nonprofit volunteer community theater company. This production is made possible in part with the support of the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.