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Dickens, Gogol converge in holiday farce

The Miami University department of theatre will present "Inspecting Carol," at 8 p.m. Nov. 15, 16, 17 and 18 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 18 in Gates-Abegglen Theatre, Center for Performing Arts. A free reception follows the opening night performance.

The play was developed by Dan Sullivan and the Seattle Repertory Company and first produced in December 1991.

A cross between Gogol’s satirical "Inspector General" and the Dickens’ classic, "Inspecting Carol" pokes fun at an American theatre tradition of annually producing "A Christmas Carol" as a fund-raiser.

It features a small nonprofit regional theatre company banking on this season’s offering – the 12th annual with the same actor playing Tiny Tim – to keep it in the black. Not only is the company bankrupt, but the National Endowment for the Arts is withholding funds because of what it terms "a significant artistic deficit."

An itinerant community actor who shows up to audition is mistaken for the NEA inspector and given a leading role. Matters quickly go downhill. When the real inspector shows up, he’s treated to probably the worst production ever of Dickens’ classic: Jacob Marley’s chains keep getting caught in the stage equipment, Bob Crachitt throws out his back trying to carry the overgrown Tiny Tim, Mrs. Crachitt turns into a vamp, the ghost of Christmas Past can’t remember the lines and Scrooge begins to speak in Spanish as a protest against centuries of oppression in Third World countries.

Martin Bennison directs the Miami production.

Tickets are $5 for Miami students, youth and senior citizens and $8 for other adults. For tickets or information, call the box office, 9-3200.

Date Published: 11/08/2001
Volume: 21   Number: 15

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