A Red Carol will star SF Mime Troupe regulars, veterans of the Tales of the Resistance series and special new guest artists. Adding to the SFMT's growing podcast library, A Red Carol will be broadcasting on select public radio station and available online at https://www.sfmt.org
beginning November 26, 2021 - January 9, 2022. Presented FREE and available to all. With the limited release of A Red Carol, the SF Mime Troupe hopes it will become an annual alternative holiday tradition for the workers of the world.
A Red Carol, by Michael Gene Sullivan, adapted from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, features a 10 person cast that includes present and veteran SF Mime Troupers including: Keiko Shimosato-Carreiro (The Ghost of Christmas Past); Wilma Bonet (The Ghost of Christmas Present); Michael Gene Sullivan (Bob Crachit); Velina Brown (Mrs. Crachit); Lisa Hori-Garcia (Belle); Amos Glick (Fezziwig); featuring: Jarion Monroe (The Ghost of Marley); Andre Amarotico (Fred); Milo Carter-Daniels (Tiny Tim), Mike McShane (Scrooge.) Musical Direction by Daniel Savio. Musicians: Daniel Savio, Patrick Byers and David Rokeach.
In A Red Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is a corporate banker, busy foreclosing on the hapless masses. Bob Cratchit and his beleaguered family live in a chilly tent in an anonymous homeless encampment. The ghost of Christmas future sports a flowing black robe of taped-together trash bags and plastic sheeting. Tiny Tim dies. At least that's how the SF Mime Troupe's resident playwright, Michael Gene Sullivan, has reimagined A Red Carol for the troubled 21st century.
The idea for Sullivan's production speaks right to Dickens' main concern - the limitations inherent in modern capitalism - for a new time. The ghost of Christmas past still reminds Scrooge of the man he was and the paths he, sadly, did not choose. The ghost of Christmas present underscores the hard lives of the 99 percent - and the miserly banker's part in making them so. And the ghost of Christmas future still offers fear and the promise of redemption.
But the tale is leavened with labor songs, and the normally mild Bob Cratchit is an angry man. "People always think this story is about you," he tells Scrooge. "Just you ... the one evil man! And if you change - everything is different, the world is transformed." Then Cratchit delivers Sullivan's message. It is an updated version of Dickens' too: "It ain't you ... it's the idea of you that's killin' us," Cratchit tells Scrooge. "It's steppin' over the hungry and homeless to buy (things) we don't need that's killin' us. It's lettin' them turn our government into a casino that's killin' us!..."It ain't about you," Cratchit says. "It's about us."
A Christmas Carol" has become "the closest thing to a modern myth that we have. It wasn't much of a stretch to place Charles Dickens' Victorian classic into today's Covid-19 world. And that, as Sullivan would be the first to tell you, is exactly the point. Dickens' novella was written in the heart of the "Hungry '40s," a time of labor unrest, unemployment and starvation across 19th-century Europe. The gap between rich and poor was wide - and getting ever wider.
The Cratchits as depicted by Dickens "are an example of where most people actually are today," said Sullivan. Naturally, the SF Mime Troupe would want to adapt Dickens' radical political statement, albeit one that's tied up in Christmas ribbon. After all, everyone else has. The slender novella was first popularized in the USA as a radio play during the Great Depression. In Dickens' tale, the miserly Scrooge is visited on Christmas Eve by his dead business partner and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. He sees visions of his lonely childhood, the wasted promise of his young manhood and his eventual death - wealthy but unmourned - and vows to be a better, more generous man if only given a second chance.
Since then there have been: all-black Christmas Carols and a western version hosted by Ronald Reagan. In Rod Serling's iteration on Twilight Zone, Scrooge envisioned a nuclear Armageddon. Yosemite Sam played the miser in Bugs Bunny's Christmas Carol. Oscar the Grouch did a similar star turn on TV on Sesame Street. On popular American TV shows the tale has been squeezed into The Six Million Dollar Man; The Odd Couple; as well as Klingon adaptations; zombie versions; ballets; musicals; films and operas.