Play review: ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Tri-State Actors Theater in Sussex, N.J.

By MARCUS KALIPOLITES
For the Times Herald-Record
December 06, 2008 6:00 AM

SUSSEX, N.J. — Next to reincarnating Scrooge, Paul Meacham turns in an inimitable
portrayal of the larger-than-life character in “A Christmas Carol.” And with resourceful
acting by the veteran actor and five other players in two-dozen roles, 19th-century London
comes to bristling life in the Tri-States Actors Theater production of Charles Dickens’ classic
novel adapted for the stage by Christopher Schario.

In addition to the visual appearance of arrogance early on, Meacham’s character scorns the
poor with violent raps of his cane, snarls at a cheerful nephew and dispatches soliciting
Gentlewomen without a donation. Soon enough, however, a torturous confrontation by the
ghost of his deceased partner (accompanied by booming and thunderous claps) finds
Scrooge cowering in terror. By play’s end, and having given up his penurious ways,
Meacham’s alter-ego relishes the joy of an angel with a combination of praying, crying
and laughing.

But while Meacham portrays only one character (and a very evolving one at that), all of the other performers imbue
their many characters with a whole range of emotions.
 Besides playing the humble employee and modest family
man Bob Cratchit, 
Bill Edwards (laden with raggedy appearance, keys, locks and sounds of rattling chains)
electrifies the action with Marley’s dire threats.

And the action does indeed cover a lot of ground as Scrooge is led through happier episodes of his life, as in the
school-room where
 Kevin Sebastian (who also later plays a congenial Tiny Tim) conveys the image of a serious
student.
 In guiding the gaping and astonished man through the early years, white-gowned Katie Tame not only
serves as the ebullient Christmas Past, but also, as Mrs. Cratchit, she frowns, then relents, on toasting Scrooge
at dinner. She and Jennelle Sosa also serve as congenial Gentlewomen.

Christmas Past aside, it’s also the reality check of Jack Harris’ Christmas Present and the foreboding of
Sebastian’s Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that force the scornful businessman to change his outlook on life.

Directed by Meacham, the production features credible character acting throughout, efficient use of props in quick-
changing scenes, nonstop movement of the players, effective light and sound changes and costumes appropriate
to time and place.
As inspired and captivating as any story dealing with a salvaged soul, this presentation of
“A Christmas Carol” is worth seeing.