Talia Pura and Vaughn Irving in Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol. Photo by Lynn Roylance
By CARRIE CLASSON
For Los Alamos residents looking for entertaining and engaging holiday theater, I strongly recommend a trip to the charming and historic Santa Fe Playhouse to see Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol.
In this heartfelt and heartwarming riff on A Christmas Carol (which originated at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago), Marley is in hell and his visit to Scrooge has more to do with saving his own soul than the redemption of Scrooge.
The audience is privy to a “backstage” look into the familiar story; as Scrooge undergoes his spiritual transformation we see Marley do the same, resulting in a wonderfully nuanced and deeply moving take on a story we may think we already know.
The heart of the production is Vaughn Irving, making his acting debut at the Playhouse. Vaughn is a veteran of more than 40 professional productions nationwide and currently serves as the theater’s artistic director. His depiction of Marley is a tour de force: a transfixing transformation from the angry and vengeful Marley we know from Dickens to an altered and enlightened soul.
Mr. Irving is ably assisted by a strong supporting cast. Talia Pura in the role of the “Bogle,” exhibits her expertise from an earlier career as an aerial artist; her physical and vocal embodiment of the tiny devil is a pure delight. Linda Loving plays the venerable Scrooge, and this adventurous bit of nontraditional casting pays off beautifully in her poignant and comic portrayal. Karen Koestner rounds out the cast, playing a legion of smaller roles, each one clearly delineated by her strong physical presence.
I urge fans of A Christmas Carol and those simply looking for a holiday treat to catch this production before—like Marley—it vanishes Dec. 24. Tickets may be purchased online at: https://santafeplayhouse.org/
Editor’s note: Carrie Classon is a writer, columnist, former theater producer and past member of Actors’ Equity Association. She lives with her husband, Peter, in Los Alamos.