One-woman ‘Christ­mas Carol’ darker, po­tent tale

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Byari­anna Au­ber aauber@states­man.com “a Christ­mas CAROL.” When: Where: Tick­ets: In­for­ma­tion: CONTRIBUTED BY BER­NADETTE NA­SON Con­tact Ari­anna Au­ber at 445-3630.

Ber­nadette Na­son has read Charles Dick­ens’ “A Christ­mas Carol” nearly ev­ery year since she was 10 years old. She has read it while com­mut­ing in Lon­don, sit­ting on the rooftop of her com­pany build­ing in Libya and re­lax­ing on a beach in Dubai.

When she came to the United States 20 years ago, mak­ing Austin her home, she dis­cov­ered that stage adap­ta­tions of the Dick­ens clas­sic were “fullscale mu­si­cal pro­duc­tions” — quite dif­fer­ent from what she thought they should be.

“I thought they lost some of the sim­plic­ity Charles Dick­ens had in­tended for his re­demp­tion tale,” she said.

So Na­son, an ac­tress and sto­ry­teller, de­cided to cre­ate a pro­duc­tion of her own, a one-woman pre­sen­ta­tion of the abridged ver­sion of the novel, ver­ba­tim and with few

7:30 p.m. Fri­day, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Satur­day, 2 p.m. Sun­day.

The Bas­trop Opera House, 711 Spring Street, Bas­trop. $5-$10

www. bas­trop­op­er­a­house.com. props and sets. She has acted out “A Christ­mas Carol” alone since 2004, when she started go­ing to schools in the area to help stu­dents grasp the mean­ing of the story. She has also per­formed it for a cou­ple of Austin the­ater groups and is tak­ing her one-woman show to Bas­trop this week­end.

From Dec. 14-16, Na­son will be at the Bas­trop Opera House with only a cou­ple of stools, benches and a coat and hat rack on stage with her, per­form­ing “A Christ­mas Carol” in the sim­ple way she imag­ined Dick­ens had done it when he held pub­lic read­ings of his work.

She has taken the show to Bas­trop this year in honor of Dick­ens’ 200th birth­day, which would’ve been in Fe­bru­ary. She had in­tended to tour Texas more widely, but wasn’t able to sched­ule ad­di­tional venues in time.

But as she has al­ways done, she plans to put her heart and soul into the per­for­mance at the Bas­trop Opera House, a Vic­to­rian the­ater built in 1889. She said the per­for­mance runs about an hour long, and she zips from char­ac­ter to char­ac­ter, us­ing dis­tinct voices to keep them straight for the au­di­ence. She also makes sure that her ver­sion of “A Christ­mas Carol” isn’t “over-sen­ti­men­tal­ized,” as she be­lieves many U.S. adap­ta­tions of the story are.

“It’s quite a dark story,” she said. “I try to keep the dark­ness so that Scrooge’s re­demp­tion means some­thing at the end.”

Keys’

Ac­tress and sto­ry­teller Ber­nadette Na­son tack­les a one-woman ver­sion of “A Christ­mas Carol” in Bas­trop from Fri­day through Sun­day.

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