Alice (Alysia Kolascz) and Scrooge (Arthur J. Beer) in "Ebenezer" at Williamston Theatre. Photo: Chris Purchis

Hope Triumphs In Zettelmaier's Christmas Tale

By Bridgette M. Redman

There is a battle fought every year during the Christmas season. It is the battle between cynicism and hope. Between cruelty and kindness. Between tragedy and miracles. Between darkness and light.

It is this battle that ignites all good Christmas classics and makes us burn with appreciation for them. Joseph Zettelmaier's newest play, "Ebenezer," lights a candle on the side of hope while poignantly showing how much darkness is left to be exposed.

Ebenezer picks up the famous story of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" fifteen years after Scrooge's encounter with the ghosts of Christmas. Life has changed for him, the other characters of the story and the world itself. He is better known than ever before, because it is his efforts that keep alive every charity in London, and he doesn't let a day go by where he doesn't take the opportunity to be kind and generous. But not even goodwill can keep an old body alive forever, and Scrooge's days are coming to an end.

The trio of actors, directed by John Lepard in this world premiere, create Zettelmaier's characters in a way that sets the bar high for future performers. And there is little doubt this is a play that will become a favorite holiday production for regional theaters.

Arthur J. Beer provides a classic Scrooge, one who could be equally comfortable in any production of the Dickens tale, only this is a Scrooge who has learned how to laugh, be charming, and to constantly smile. Beer exemplifies what a life transformed looks like, and the transformation is both deep and complete. He never wavers, even when confronted with hopelessness and darkness. His is an unfailing faith that is stronger for knowing what it is like to be on the other side.

Alysia Kolascz plays Scrooge's nurse, one Alice Poole. The physical conditions of her life have been transformed because of Scrooge's generosity, but she is still brittle and lonely, unable to let go of the pain she has experienced.

Tiny Tim, played by Joseph Seibert, has grown up and joined the British navy, his life changed in many ways - first by Scrooge's influence, and then by what he witnesses in the Confederate states amidst the Civil War. His love for "Uncle" Scrooge is apparent, though like Alice, it has yet to fully transform him.

Kolascz and Seibert are especially adept at switching between characters and times, recreating scenes that have greatly influenced them and which brings to forefront the conflict between despair and hope. They easily switch accents, facial expressions and movement styles, never leaving any doubt of which characters they are playing at any given time. Kolascz impresses when she plays the earlier version of herself, wheezing and bent over, as close to death then as Scrooge is now.

Together, the three form a tight bond that is touching and transformative. Their humor and charm help bring to life Zettelmaier's touching tale, one that is an excellent way to launch the holiday season.

Yes, there is still darkness and division in the world. But that doesn't mean kindness and love has failed, only that we need it more than ever.

REVIEW:

'Ebenezer'

Williamston Theatre, 122 S. Putnam St., Williamston. Thursday-Sunday through Dec. 23. 1 hour, 20 minutes. $20-25. 517-655-7469. http://www.WilliamstonTheatre.org

MI Marriage Trial

Michigan Same Sex Couples Demand Respect And Equal Treatment

Michigan Leaders React To Feds Recognition Of Marriages

MI Marriage: Schuette Asks For Full Appeals Court Review

The Stay Delayed Allows 315 Couples To Wed In State

Gay Marriage Defines Schuette's Reelection Campaign

Snyder Says Schuette Going Against Trend

Sixth Circuit Continues Stay

Michigan Marriage Ban Struck Down

Michigan Makes History With First Marriages

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Aappeal

Pictures from Ingham County - Getting Married

Pictures from Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 1

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's office - Part 2

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 3

Pictures from Washtenaw County

White Nationalist Group Files Brief Supporting AG's Appeal In Marriage Ruling

Discredited Witness Part Of Right-Wing Cabal

Schauer Celebrates Overturn Of Michigan Marriage Ban

Equality Michigan Circulating Petition to Drop Appeal

Why Are Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette Wasting Michigan Taxpayer Dollars On A Costly Appeal?

Michigan Marriage Ban Co-Author Goes 'Moral'

BTL's Wedding Expo: Like Pride in April

Snyder Says Marriages Invalid

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Appeal

Request To Remove Stay Based On Process And Substance

Schuette Lies To Satisfy Political Base

DOCUMENTS: The decision, the stay, and more

BREAKING: Holder Asked To Recognize Michigan Marriages

Michigan Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

BREAKING: Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals Issues Temporary Stay On Michigan Case

BREAKING: Same-Sex Couples Across Michigan Get Hitched

BREAKING: Judge Friedman Declares Michigan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Judge Could Rule Late Today In Mich. Marriage Ban

Michigan Marriage Trial: And Now We Wait

Editor's Viewpoint: Our Long Journey To Justice

Federal Marriage Case Decisions Outside Michigan In Circuit Court of Appeals

Peers Distance Themselves As Regnerus Takes The Stand

Marriage Supporters, Protestors Brave Cold At Courthouse

Highlights From Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Hearing

Brown Says Schuette Instructed Clerks To Defy Court

Michigan Marriage Equality Trial Begins Second Week

Marriage Equality Trial Opens : Science v. Fear

Michigan Marriage Center Prepares State For The Possibility!

Michigan Marriage Case Begins

A Trial Full of Experts: Incredible and Not So Credible, In Hazel Park Case

like us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on google+