A year ago, A Noise Within introduced Geoff Elliott's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" in what was then the group's new home at Luckman Theater. But the company is now back in its original quarters in Glendale, and it's offering Elliott's "A Christmas Carol" there for the first time.
The Glendale theater seats only 144, in contrast to the 252 seats that the company was allowed to use out of the Luckman's 1,150. Almost every seat is filled in Glendale, in contrast to vast fields of empty seats at the Luckman. The seats are also arranged differently, on three sides of the stage instead of only one at the Luckman.
These factors combine to produce a much more intimate, human atmosphere--which, of course, is what any production of "A Christmas Carol" should seek. Even the neighborhood contributes to the effect; downtown Glendale glitters with holiday lights and is relatively well populated, compared to the deserted area around the Luckman after hours.
Fittingly for a play that emphasizes the past, present and future, this version--staged by Julia Rodriguez Elliott and Geoff Elliott--thrusts time into the forefront, with clock faces dominating Michael C. Smith's set and rhythmic chimes ticking throughout Norman L. Berman's incidental music.
The wonderful William Dennis Hunt looks Lear-like in his first appearance as Scrooge, but by the end of the play he has transformed into childlike merriment.
Actors share the narration and form a chorus dressed in top hats and long brown capes, in addition to playing particular roles. The production swirls with well choreographed movement.
* 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Friday and Dec. 21 and 22, 8 p.m.; Saturday and Dec. 20, 23, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 and 7 p.m.; Ends Dec. 23. $22 to $40. (323) 953-7795. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.