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December 5, 2013

A twist of Dickens

Plattsburgh Memorial Chapel to present new version of classic tale

PLATTSBURGH — Experience “A Christmas Carol” the way Charles Dickens presented it with holiday performances at the Plattsburgh Memorial Chapel.

This new rendering of the classic tale, conceived by Tim Palkovic and the Mosaic Ensemble under the direction of Sue Carroll, will be presented at 3 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 15.

“I was asked by Bill Laundry, who was the dean of students,” said Palkovic, a SUNY Plattsburgh Theater Department professor emeritus. “He thought it would be a good idea. This year, it kind of came together. He was a very successful dean of students. He could get people to do what they should do. It’s been quite a trip, like climbing a mountain without the proper gear.”

Palkovic knew he wanted to work with Carroll, with whom he had collaborated before on folk tales.

“She was working with the Mosaic Ensemble, an informal group of women who like to sing contemporary songs. My wife, Laura, came on board. She’s sung with Mosaic and liked the idea of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’ We put it together.”

The Memorial Chapel’s ivy-laced brick exterior and oak-beams-and-plastered stonework interior offer the perfect ambiance for Dickens’ Victorian-era novella about the bitter and penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge, whose heartless soul is saved by supernatural interventions of Jacob Marley’s spirit and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come.

The production features Palkovic as the Ghost of Charles Dickens and Mosaic Ensemble sopranos Kim Gingrich, Karen Larkin and Lorraine Locklin; altos Betty Bogucki, Gloria Douglas and Laura Palkovic; and Carroll, a second soprano.

Mr. Palkovic sought to replicate the intimacy as he remembered from the 1938 radio drama featuring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten.

“I studied a great deal about Dickens and learned to respect him more than I did,” he said. “He died 10 years younger than I am now. He wrote a shelf of books over four feet long. He would tour the United States and British Isles. He would give readings of ‘A Christmas Carol.’ It was very popular.”

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