A Charleston holiday: Balmy weather and “A Christmas Carol’

  • Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter in Charleston. Gotta love it. I’m wearing flip flops in December and my A/C is running.

But — there are times you wouldn’t mind if the Polar Express whizzed through the south ushering in Artic air and snow, if only for a few hours here and there i.e., like when we hang our Christmas wreath’s on the front door, go caroling or — have a date to see the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at the Footlight Player’s Theatre.

Try as I may, my wishes wouldn’t conjure up a cool breeze. I spent the morning with my toes in the sand at Isle of Palms and by mid-afternoon the temperature climbed to a balmy 73 degrees. A few hours before the show time, it started to rain.

We walked out onto the streets of Charleston from the parking deck, and then — the magic of the holy city turned a blasé dreary evening into my own little winter wonderland.

As dusk fell west of St. Michael’s church, the rain reduced to a drizzle. Damp cobblestones twinkled with the reflection of gas lanterns and Christmas lights. Wavy sidewalks echoed the footsteps of people going to and fro and for a few minutes, I imagined this is how it had always been here.

The Footlight Player’s Theatre resides in an old cotton warehouse at 20 Queen St. The arched entry doors were amply lit and wreath hewn. It was beautiful and looked as it would have in its origination, circa 1852. After retrieving our tickets and playbills, we found our seats. The theatre felt cozy, the seats had ample leg room.

As most of us who have seen, read or listened to versions of the Charles Dickens’ classic, I felt there weren’t going to be many surprises. I was happily wrong.

The stage props weren’t elaborate, which I rather enjoyed. I prefer things be not so perfect. The costumes were phenomenal, true to the era, not flashy – but authentic. I loved that the curtain didn’t have to come down to graduate the show to its next set. It was fun to watch the cast scurry to get the new props in place in the reduced lighting.

The musicians were awesome. It was a stroke of stage-set genius to situate them in the backdrop prop. They almost appeared to be part of a dimly lit theatre event taking place during the production. The musical selections were perfect for the progression of the story. I loved all of the performances, with my favorites being the full cast ensembles. Incredible.

An interesting tidbit, Karl Bunch played the Ghost of Christmas Present while 50 years ago, he performed at Footlight Players as Tiny Tim, his first role ever in a play. But, Christmas Future, still gives me the eebie jeebies. Scary.

We really enjoyed the performance and left knowing that we would come back to catch another production. When we walked out onto the streets of Charleston, the wind had chilled the night and we pulled in closer to each other as we walked the streets back to our vehicle. Don said, “You got your winter ambience.” Yay, it’s Christmas in Charleston.

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