Jonnie Myers-Debbink puts fun twist on “A Christmas Carol” at Playmakers

Nov 21, 2023 | Entertainment | 0 comments

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Playmakers Civic Theatre invites the public to attend a unique performance of “A Christmas Carol” with a Port Clinton twist. The script for the beloved Charles Dickens tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from selfishness to charity was originally adapted by Director Jonnie Myers-Debbink and Paul Causman for a performance at the Peristyle Theater in Toledo about 25 years ago.

When writing the Peristyle script, Myers-Debbink drew from research she conducted on the life of Dickens during a trip to England.

“Playmakers is doing the same version we did at the Peristyle and then at the Valentine Theatre,” Myers-Debbink said. “I did the Peristyle, then the Valentine, and then I retired.”

That was until Myers-Debbink had a happenstance meeting with longtime friend and community theater thespian, Douglas Braun.

“I ran into Doug, and he said, ‘Let’s do it here,’” Myers-Debbink said.

Braun will play the part of Ebenezer Scrooge.

“This version has a couple of interesting things going for it,” Braun said. “For starters, it has lots of Christmas music. It’s known for its dark scenes of man’s redemption, but it’s accentuated by a lot of spirit in song.”

Secondly, the performance is distinctive due to its multitude of scenes.

“We’ve done some clever things, like special lighting,” Braun said. “In a kind of unique way, we’ll use the entire stage. We’ll use parts of the stage not normally seen by the audience. There was this vision of the show that popped into Jonnie’s mind of what it should be.”

Myers-Debbink calls the staging “abstract.”

“But it works,” she said. “It was something to try. It was something fun.”

The third unusual element of “A Christmas Carol” is its 37-member strong cast. Seventeen of the 37 are children.

“More than once, everyone will be on stage together,” Braun said.

In September, Playmakers hosted “3-2-1, You’re On — Saturdays” youth workshops where are youths learned about acting and behind-the-scenes management of a play.

“The nice part about ‘A Christmas Carol’ is that all but one of the 3-2-1 students auditioned for the show,” Braun said. “The workshop turned into a steppingstone, which is what we hoped for.”

Although “A Christmas Carol” is a much-familiar tale, Playmakers, under the direction of Myers-Debbink, will bring new life to the story.

“Theaters all over the country are doing ‘A Christmas Carol,’ and everyone is trying to come up with a different, unusual way,” she said.

“A Christmas Carol” performances will be held on two weekends (Friday-Sunday, Dec. 8–10 and Dec. 15-17). Tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. Ticket reservations can be made at www.pcplaymakers.org, 419-734-5044, or at the Port Clinton Chamber of Commerce. Playmakers Civic Theatre is at 604 W. 6th St. in Port Clinton.

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