A Christmas Carol
A yearly production that includes a festival celebrating Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol helps bring the story about family, charity, and reconciliation to people of all ages in Tucson, AZ.
Due to COVID-19, this year's production shifted to a new format, including adaptive seating, masks for both cast and audience, social distancing, daily temperature checks, and more.
Since several venues in the city were shut down due to the pandemic, Arts Express sought out to find a temporary home to continue providing entertainment to the community. Park Place Mall revealed that they had a vacancy: a 12,000 sq. ft. retail store, big enough to accommodate for a large stage, fitting rooms (turned into "dressing rooms" for the cast), a furnished lobby, and plenty of seating to hold up to roughly 100 audience members, even with social distancing between tables.
With safety in mind for both the production team and cast, no wireless lavalier microphones were used in this production. Instead, choir mics that hung from the ceiling were implemented, and I took it upon myself to become familiar with the blocking movements of the cast, following their movements on stage according to the microphone they were closest to in the air. In specific areas, boundary floor mics were implemented to capture extremities, like "Scrooge's Bedroom," and "Cratchit's home." It was also important that we ensure Tiny Tim could be heard, as our actor this year was young, and had a softer voice. To achieve this, we decided that Tiny Tim would be carried in a classic "Radio Flyer" wagon, outfitted to look more periodically accurate. Then, a wireless microphone was hidden and mounted inside the wagon in order to capture Tiny Tim's voice whilst riding. In other parts of the story, Tiny Tim was sat on a ledge, where a banister was directly next to him. I took advantage of this fact by placing a boundary mic sideways, directly pointed at his mouth as he sang.
Another storytelling feature was our use of projections on the white screen behind the actors. Using two bright projectors, a little bit of overlapping, and the surface parameters found in QLab 4, we were able to align the images exactly to cast an ultra-wide image across the screen upstage, such as backdrop images for location, green-screen recordings of extra characters, and supertitles, which aided in helping the audience comprehend the lyrics of the musical numbers.
Directed by Susan Stokes
Scenic Design by Mike Dunn
Lighting Design by Michael Sorenson
Costume Design by Tiff Jensen
Photos by Ben Wiese