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DuffleBag Theatre brings A Christmas Carol to Whistler

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DuffleBag Theatre brings A Christmas Carol to Whistler

Whistler Question, December 5, 2016

Expect audience participation and a few laughs at Saturday’s show
MEGAN LALONDE / WHISTLER QUESTION

When it comes to Christmas stories, none are as well known or loved as that of Ebenezer Scrooge, the grumpy old man who takes a turn to the kinder, gentler side after being visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

While the original story was more serious in tone, Whistler will have the chance to experience a hilariously entertaining, one-of-a-kind take on the classic Christmas tale when DuffleBag Theatre returns to Whistler next Saturday (Dec. 10) with their production of A Christmas Carol.

But this isn’t your typical, sit-down-and-watch kind of play: audience participation is a main component of DuffleBag’s productions, with A Christmas Carol being no exception. As usual, randomly selected members of the audience will be brought up on stage to star in the main roles, with a narrator on hand to keep the story moving.

“It makes for a very fun experience for everyone,” said DuffleBag Theatre’s artistic director, Marcus Lundgren. “Whatever (the audience members) do, it’s the narrator’s job to make it part of the story.”

According to Lundgren, the spontaneous, improv-driven shows produce hilarious results.

“We had one show the other day where instead of Ebenezer’s classic line of ‘bah humbug,’ for some reason he thought we thought we were talking about surfer lingo and said, ‘cowabunga’ instead,” he explained. “It was quite funny for the audience, and we had the option there to make it a show about the California life-style and surfer dudes, so we did that for a few minutes.”

While every show is new and unique, there’s always a few signature DuffleBag quirks that audience members can expect to see.

“(The audience) ends up feeling like they’re part of our crazy, silly world because they come hoping that we’re going to do some of the bits or routines that they’re used to, so when we do there’s this knowing response — “Yay, we got to see that,’” Lundgren explained.

For example, “We always have a rubber chicken in our show, and so it’s just how we’re going to use the rubber chicken that’s new or different.”

And when it comes to these pre-planned parts of the show, Lundgren adds that there’s something for everyone.

“Whenever we’re rehearsing or creating the show, we try to make ourselves laugh. We figure if we laugh, then hopefully somebody else will find it funny too,” said Lundgren. “We really try to gear it so all levels of the audience are entertained. It’s kind of like The Muppet Show — the adults laugh at the jokes, but the kids laugh when somebody falls down.”

This versatility is something that can be credited with the 24-year-old travelling theatre group’s lasting success.
“This isn’t something that’s just for the younger kids and the parents have to sit and endure it, it’s something that everyone’s quite vocal about having laughed at and had a great time,” said Lundgren. “It’s a shared experience that they’ll be able to recount for a long time.”

The show is set to take place at the Maury Young Arts Centre on Saturday (Dec. 10) at 5 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 for Arts Whistler members, $15 for adults and $10 for children.
To buy tickets, go to artswhistler.com.

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