• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Woodford Theatre presents ‘An ,Appalachian Christmas’

Woodford Theatre re-imagines a holiday classic when “An Appalachian Christmas Carol” opens three weekends of performances beginning Fridaynight, Dec. 1. Trish Clark, Woodford Theatre’s artistic director, said she was looking for a show for this holiday season, but was hesitant about doing an adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” – at first.

She remembered the black-and-white films as being dark, depressing and not really about redemption. And then something magical happened. She read playwright Merri Biechler’s stage adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, which had its premier in southeast Ohio.

With Biechler’s blessings, “An Appalachian Christmas” became an opportunity to re-imagine a classic story and also celebrate Kentucky’s coal-mining heritage. “I think it was just meant to be,” said Clark of her Woodford Theatre directorial debut.

“So I’ve been pretty obsessed with it to be quite honest,” she added. “I’ve loved it. I loved all of the research.” She worked with historians at Berea College before choosing to locate the story in Lookout, Ky., which allowed her to add dialogue with references to other nearby towns and communities.

Re-imagining Scrooge as an Eastern Kentucky coal mine owner allows Clark to share this classic Christmas story of redemption with audience members who may have family roots in Pike County, she said.

When Scrooge (as portrayed by Adam Luckey) sees Bob Cratchit (Jason Meenach) and his family being so happy together, Clark said the self-transformation of a miserly man, who didn’t make good life choices – begins. This rise of conscious within Scrooge takes shape after he encounters the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, she explained.

“So I find great admiration for Scrooge in this script (because) he actually makes that transformation himself,” said Clark. She has included young fiddlers in her cast of characters for this celebration of the holiday season and Kentucky’s musical traditions.

A pre-show concert by The Local Honeys and an array of exhibits that celebrate the region’s history will welcome audiences to each performance of “An Appalachian Christmas Carol” at the Woodford Theatre.

Performances are Dec. 1 to 3, Dec. 8 to 10, and Dec. 14 to 17, with Friday, Saturday and a special Thursday performance on the final weekend beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. The pre-show concert by The Local Honeys will happen one-half hour before “An Appalachian Christmas Carol” begins.

Reserved tickets ($22 for adults and $15 for students) may be purchased by calling Woodford Theatre’s box office at 873-0648 or online atwoodfordtheatre.com.

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