Bah! Humbug! A Spirited Benefit for the Downtown Eastside
Victorian England meets Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) this December with Bah! Humbug!, a theatrical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Reconceived as a staged reading and musical event, this imaginative all-ages production offers a bittersweet twist on a cherished seasonal classic that celebrates the transformative power of human redemption. Bah! Humbug! runs December 14 – 18, 2011 in the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
Commissioned and co-produced by SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs in partnership with Vancouver Moving Theatre, Bah! Humbug! is a benefit for community-engaged art practice in the Downtown Eastside and the Heart of the City Festival.
Now more than 150 years old, Dickens’ timeless story remains relevant today, especially in light of parallels between the economic disparities of Victorian London and Vancouver’s DTES.
Directed by Max Reimer, Artistic Managing Director of the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company, the 2011 Bah! Humbug! features award-winning actor Jay Brazeau as the irascible Ebenezer Scrooge, First Nations actor Margo Kane as the narrator, Juno-award winning musician and actor Jim Byrnes as Jacob Marley, and gospel and blues singer/actor Tom Pickett as Bob Cratchit. These Vancouver favourites are joined by a cast of professional and DTES community actors, multiple instrumentalist Joseph ‘Pepe’ Danza, and the Saint James Music Academy Youth Choir. Music direction is by Neil Weisensel, with music drawn from a modern songbook of pop songs, folk, blues, gospel and industrial rock along with seasonal favourites.
“Our adaptation attempts to capture the core of the story and reflect Dickens’ sharp social commentary, without losing its warmth,” says Michael Boucher, Director, Cultural Programs & Partnerships, SFU Woodward’s. “But, in the end, this story is about giving and the resilience of the human spirit. Taking inspiration from Dickens, we’re proud to work in partnership with Vancouver Moving Theatre to benefit the development of a dynamic cultural program in our own community.
“Each year, the adaptation has different creative twists and turns as we continue to highlight vital issues affecting the DTES.”
“Dicken’s vivid portrayal of the plight of community members displaced and driven into poverty during London’s boom years has never been out of print,” says Savannah Walling, Artistic Director of Vancouver Moving Theatre. “Not only is it a haunting ghost story with unforgettable characters and a comic touch, but Dicken’s advocacy for social justice, ethical transformation and generosity of spirit are just as urgently needed today. ‘Charity begins at home,’ Dickens said, ‘and justice begins next door.’”
Bah! Humbug! runs for six performances only December 14-17 (7:30 pm) and December 17-18 (2:00 pm) at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings. Tickets are $19 (students/seniors) and $29 (adults) and can be purchased at the Vancouver Playhouse Box Office by phone at 604-873-3311 or online at www.sfuwoodwards.ca