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Review: Nothing new about ‘A Christmas Carol’

The American Southwest Theatre Company’s 2019-2020 performance of “A Christmas Carol” opened Nov. 22 at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, and will run through Dec. 8. ASTC does not put on the play every year, but rather every three years.

American Southwest Theatre Company’s 2019-2020 performance of “A Christmas Carol” runs through Sunday, Dec. 8. (Image courtesy of ASTC)

This year, “A Christmas Carol” was directed by student Xodia Choate, who is a senior in the NMSU Theater Arts Department. This is Choate’s first time directing a main-stage production. Before directing “A Christmas Carol,” Choate was the assistant director of “My Fair Lady” and co-directed “Yuri” for the Las Cruces Space Festival.

“A Christmas Carol” runs approximately one hour and 45 minutes including the 15-minute intermission between the first two acts. Acts one and two are both 45 minutes in length.

The first 15 minutes of “A Christmas Carol” did not grab my attention. I found myself checking the time and not truly immersing myself in the production. The production overall was good and the performers themselves appeared to have put in a lot of work.

As the story progressed, the play improved, and the ghosts truly saved the production. Many of the actors and actresses over-dramatized their characters and some of the performances felt almost cringy. The ghosts, on the other hand, seemed to benefit from the over-dramatizations.

My biggest complaint with the production is that some of the performers were very hard to hear, while other performers were wearing microphones. Why weren’t all of the performers wearing microphones? I was sitting in the orchestra section and still found some of the performers hard to hear.

My other problem with this production was ASTC used the same set from the last time it put on “A Christmas Carol.” I did not see any type of change between this year’s production and the last time it was put on by ASTC. I felt this year’s production should have included something new.

If you have seen ASTC’s production of “A Christmas Carol” before, I recommend you not spend your money attending this year’s production. This is not because the performances or storyline were not adequate, but because ASTC did not put any extra work into the production.

If you have not seen “A Christmas Carol” before, then it would be a fun experience for you and your family. The production is cheesy, but it’s a feel-good story and truly puts you in the Christmas spirit. Also, the storyline is easy for audiences of all ages to follow considering this a very well-known story that has been told many different ways.

In the end, “A Christmas Carol” at least left me feeling happy about the upcoming holiday season.

Ticket prices are $17 through Ticketmaster, but the prices may vary depending on where you purchase them. My best advice is to buy them online because there may not be any tickets left if you wait to buy them in the theater before the performance.

“A Christmas Carol” will run through next Sunday, Dec. 8, at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts on the NMSU main campus in Las Cruces. Remaining showtimes are as follows:

Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to New Mexico State University, the NMSU Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Kokopelli, or any other organization, committee, group or individual. 

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