Loosen up this holiday season

By Jen Pearson

A fist fight almost decided who would play Ebeneezer Scrooge at Loose Moose Theatre this year.

"Derek [Flores] would have lost," Dennis Cahill says, sure he can out-punch the other cast members.

Never mind the Christmas spirit, the democratic spirit will have the audience choosing Scrooge election-style. Every night they’ll be taking a vote before A Chrismoose Carol begins. Both men know the roles inside and out, and the role of Ebeneezer will be awarded by a show of hands.

Loose Moose has performed A Christmas Carol several times in the past, every year altering the play in some distinctly Loose Moose way. This year is no exception.

"We’ve done the play as a musical, and on a miniscule budget of $100. In years past we’ve pulled it off with panache, but this year, we’re performing it with three people," says Cahill, Loose Moose’s artistic director and one of the ambitious actors.

As many will remember, the popular story is of a cruel and demanding boss, Ebeneezer Scrooge, who underpays his employees. Tiny Tim, the son of one of his workers, is an invalid who will die without proper nourishment. On Christmas Eve, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future pay Scrooge an eye-opening visit. It’s a Christmas staple, with a twist.

There are 25 roles in this production, and while Shawn Kinley’s (Tilted Men, World Improv Games) share in acting duties is set to 13 constant characters, Flores (Macbeth, Hot Nuts and Popcorn) and Cahill only find out moments before curtain who they will play.

The elements of the play remain constant, but this year’s production is infused with many creative special effects. The ghost of Christmas past floats onstage with what Cahill calls "spectacular but inexpensive special effects," and the ghost of Jacob Marley is mobile, plummeting on bungee cords to his place and acrobatically hoisting himself onto Scrooge’s shoulders. The ghost of Christmas present is embodied by a big head. Known affectionately as Mr. Big Head by the actors, he is one of the props that has remained constant over the years. If exciting ghosts simply aren’t enough for you, there’s both snow and flame to titillate your senses.

This is only one of the two theatre companies on 9th Ave. performing the classic, but Cahill claims they are up to the challenge and that the audience will be stimulated.

"You can certainly enjoy both shows, they are on a different basis, but ours is not recommended for children. It’s more violent, and the ghosts are scarier."

Catch the Christmas spirit and see A Chrismoose Carol as never before. The play is running Dec. 7-23, Thurs. through Sat. at 8 p.m.

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