Author: Jasper Deeter

School Photos: First Class

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The Hedgerow Theatre School’s Spring classes started over the weekend and are now in full swing. Hedgerow’s students began work on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, reading one of the bard’s most well-known pieces, while the cast of Charlotte’s Web sang along together through the score of our youth class musical.

Trailer: Yes, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Despite the ghosts of Halloween still haunting the Hedgerow stage and the emptiness in our bellies not quite filled yet, rehearsals have begun for our 23rd annual, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. At the helm of this years production is adapter and Artistic Director, Jared Reed. Reed’s stunning adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in 2011 was a one-person tour-de-force that brought to life the original language of the beloved classic story. In this year’s full cast experience, Reed is staying true to Dickens’ timeless tale and reminding us to, “…keep Christmas in our hearts the whole year round.”

 

The story was first published in 1843, so Hedgerow’s 1840s’ built grist-mill theatre provides the perfect period-appropriate setting for the play, which features a large multi-generational cast and carols.

Dickens himself experience some of the inequities depicted in his tale. At the age of 12, he was sent to work in a factory after his father was sent to debtors’ prison. As an adult, he became involved in charities and social issues. He was inspired to write A Christmas Carol after visiting a “ragged school” in 1843, a school that offered free education to impoverished inner-city children named for the clothing they wore. According to Malcolm Andrews, editor of the Dickensian, journal of the Dickens Fellowship, Dickens originally thought of issuing a pamphlet, but chose to write “a holiday fable to highlight the callous indifference of the rich towards what should be their social responsibilities–the idea that we are all one family and should care for others.”

Because of the large number of performances, both in the evenings and during the day for school groups, there are teams of actors to accommodate their schedules and to allow them to play different parts to enhance their experience. Scrooge will be portrayed in all shows by Hedgerow veteran and perennial favorite Zoran Kovcic.

There are still a few dates available to book special performances for schools or other groups. To arrange a time, contact Group Sales Director Art Hunter at 610-565-4211.

Adult ticket prices for Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows are $34; Thursday shows are $32. There is a $3 discount for seniors; tickets for students with valid ID and children under 18 are $15. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations, call 610-565-4211, or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org

Blog: The Writers of Life After Death

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Blog by Josh Portera
Photo by Ashley Labonde

Hamilton Deane was born in Ireland and lived nearby to Bram Stoker, his mother having been acquainted with Dracula’s author in their youth.  Deane entered into the world of theatre in his late teens, working for the Henry Irving Company, which incidentally Stoker had also worked for as stage manager for many years.  While Stoker himself attempted to edit his novel into a play in 1897, it was scrapped by the Irving Company before its completion.  In the early 1920’s, Deane adapted the piece on his own over a period of only a few weeks while suffering with a cold.  The work done, he negotiated for the dramatic rights with Stoker’s widow, Florence.  Deane’s work reimagined Dracula as a modern creature who could blend in with London society – it was Deane who can be credited for the appearance of Dracula as we know him today; a well dressed, tuxedo wearing gentleman with a high collar and long black cape.  The play opened in England in 1924 with Deane taking on the role of Dr. Van Helsing.  When the play was brought to the US in 1927, John L. Balderston was hired to rewrite the piece for an American audience.

Balderston’s career began in journalism, working for the Philadelphia Record while studying at Columbia University.  He later worked as a WWI Correspondent for the McClure Newspaper Syndicate as well as editor for Outlook magazine.  In 1926 he began to gain acclaim as a playwright for Berkeley Square, co-written with Jack Squire.  This lead to him being chosen to adapt Deane’s Dracula script for its American run, which starred Bela Lugosi as the title character, and which ended up being used as the basis for the 1931 film version, also starring Lugosi.  Balderston’s career then turned towards screenwriting, leading to his contribution in films like Frankenstein and Gone with the Wind, as well as further novel adaptations for the screen, such as Prisoner of Zenda, and Gaslight, which earned him an Academy Award nomination.