Alliance Theatre brings Scrooge into the age of social distance

It’s safe to say not even the Ghost of Christmas Future could have predicted what’s happening in a Summerhill parking lot this month.

Right now, Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre is presenting A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play in the lot next to Georgia State University’s Center Parc Credit Union Stadium.  The unique new adaptation opened last Friday, directed and co-adapted by Leora Morris.

“Figuring out how this was going to work was the first step,” says Morris.  “Taking the 'Christmas Carol’ story by Charles Dickens and do we adapt it so that it not only is possible to perform in COVID, but actually gives people a chance to connect with each other and with the show during COVID."


Billed as an “interactive drive-in experience,” the show is truly live theatre in the age of social distance.  Four performers are isolated within a structure of shipping containers and projected onto large screens overhead; audiences, meanwhile, sit in or just outside their cars, listening through their car radios and enjoying the timeless tale of Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and a ghostly gallery of visitors.

"In reinvestigating it, we really found that it's a story about a man who has chosen to disconnect, or to surrender to being disconnected from other people.  And we see the story as a coaxing Scrooge back into a place of connectedness with other people,” explains Morris.

As for why the famed Atlanta theatre company decided to go ahead with a live version of A Christmas Carol this year, Morris says the performance is something of a gift to the community.  “We felt like we owed it to Atlantans to give them something that they could safely do for the holidays -- that would make them believe in each other again, that would make them feel the power of art and storytelling again -- and we wanted to do it in a way that was responsive to 2020 and very specifically to the city and citizens of Atlanta."

Performances of A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play continue through December 23, on Tuesdays through Sundays at 7 p.m. and Monday, December 21, at 7 p.m.  The show is also be available to stream for $20 on Alliance Theatre Anywhere, the theatre’s new streaming site.

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