A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Can the spirits of Christmas warm the heart of a bitter old miser? Find the answer yourself in David "Zen" Mansley's production of the classic Charles Dickens tale. Featuring live performances and ghostly, filmed projections, this production is sure to dazzle, surprise and touch you. Rediscover this story - or experience its magic for the first time.
Produced, Directed, Designed, Adapted by and Starring David "Zen" Mansley as Scrooge with Bob Homeyer as Bob Cratchit and featuring the talents of Crystal Field, Lissa Moira, Mark Marcante, David F. Slone Esq., Steph van Vlack, Caitlyn Williams, Candice Burridge, Michael LaPorta, Alan Hannah, Briana Bartenieff, Hannah Scheuer, Luke Robishaw, Susie Perkins and Sirius Martin Toro. Light designs by William Giraldo with Sound Design by Joy Linscheid.
ONE WEEKEND ONLY
David "Zen" Mansley is a dynamic and versatile actor, director and designer. His production of Macbeth, which he starred in, at the Celtic Arts Center in Los Angeles received a rave review from the LA Times, was extended twice and ran for two and a half months to packed houses.
His production of "A Christmas Carol" - for which he directs, designs and plays both Scrooge and Marley has played at TNC during Christmas season for the last two years. He known internationally for his character voice work on such cartoon series as TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, CHAOTIC, and SPEED RACER: THE NEXT GENERATION.
Zen has appeared as many unique characters myriad TNC productions, including a southern billionaire in THE CAPITALIST VENTRILOQUIST, the messianic king of the cavemen in BEFORE GOD WAS INVENTED, the crabby elder chimp in ADAM OF THE APES, Ali the Alligator in UNCLE WIGGLY, a surrealist art critic in WHO MURDERED LOVE?, a mad hypnotist in THE SYSTEM OF Dr. TARR AND PROFESSOR FETHER, the mesmerist in THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR, Tamberlaine in TAMUR LENK, a Broadway producer in LIVING IN A MUSICAL, crazy Pope Stephen VI in INFALLIBILITY and an English time traveler in Crystal Field's annual STREET THEATER. He also creates TNC's Halloween HOUSE OF HORRORS for the East Village Halloween Masquerade Ball.
With His Shakespearian background and his character building skills, this powerful performer has been known to transform both himself and his audiences.
“Too bad this charming holiday production only played last weekend — it would have done good box office straight through the holidays, I think. David “Zen” Mansley, a familiar face around Theater for the New City, put his own distinct spin on Dicken’s traditional Christmas morality tale. He not only adapted, directed and starred in this version, but he designed it. Indeed two of the better elements were the make-up for characters like Scrooge and the various spirits, and the larger-than-life video projections that are the means by which we encounter the ghosts and many of their visions.
Of the performances, Mansley’s was just the kind of tour de force of spirit gum and scenery chewing I relish, leaping into the part as though it were Lear. It’s the old-fashioned way of acting, the old English way, all vocal and visual transformation, and quite magical. I want to see a good deal more of him on the stage. Crystal Field (Herself, as the Irish say) and Lissa Moira were hilarious and adorable as a couple of cockney charwomen. Bob Homeyer brought a meek, dutiful benevolence to his namesake (not to say soul mate) Bob Cratchit. Anyway, this was a perfect show to see on a cold, wintery night, and I wish certain callous and cruel public figures would see it (and pay attention to it), too!”
Many people tend to avoid Christmas and Holiday shows because of the quality of the shows and/or seasonal reasons. But when I saw the cast of A Christmas Carol at Theater for the New City, I did not want to miss this. You have David Zen Mansley a wonderful actor, Mark Marcante known for building sets at TNC, directing and his love of Commedia dell’Arte. To top off reasons not to miss it was the addition of Crystal Field to the cast.
This show only ran one week - next year I would hope TNC runs it for a month. David Zen Mansley casting was excellent, using almost all TNC in house.
David Zen Mansley’s, Scrooge took us into his world of stingy, greedy, cold inhuman treatment of his fellow man – but also took us into Scrooge’s own personal hell he was living with, from his lonely cold childhood, being blamed by his father for the death of his mother at child birth, to the later death of his sister and more. Once you felt David Zen Mansley could not possibly take us any deeper or lower into hell – he managed to takes us further and deeper into the darkness of the sufferings, which haunts Scrooge and made him into the cold creator of other peoples hell. Bob Homeyer plays a wonderful Bob Cratchit – the timid clerk. It was a good counter balance to David Zen Mansley’s, Scrooge. Bob Homeyer, Cratchit gave a perfect sense of living on the edge of survival for him and his family being so poor, because of Scrooges miserliness and the two of them brought a sense of those suffering times of Charles Dickens’.
Bob Cratchit going home for Christmas dinner is a priceless scene – serving Christmas dinner with no food what-so-ever but the whole family eating a complete dinner with every detail all with “mime food” because there was no money to buy real food – with the whole family truly enjoying it was funny, tragic and heart breaking. The two Cratchit children played along perfectly with their mom and dad joyfully eating nothing and enjoying it. It was all so hearts breaking that more than several people in the audience were brought to quiet tears. Several women in the audience as they were exiting the theater after the show, said how they could not help but cry during a few of the family scenes. The men in the audience did not talk about the tears. What made the moment so great was the setup by David Zen Mansley the adaptor and director of this piece.
Michael Laporta, the Solicitor was on the mark as the hopeful community person collecting funds for charity, showing the horror and loss of not helping humanity and driving Scrooges wrath deeper as did Justin Wisniewski - Nephew Fred the nauseatingly happy son of Scrooge’s sister. The multi-media film was effetely done with Caitlyn Williams as Christmas Past playing a very kind loving ghost. Mark Marcante – Fezziwig ghost drove Scrooge to dance with joy, again a nice touch of playing joy and hell at the same time. Susie Perkins – Sister Fan to Scrooge was yet another very touching moment where we all received a deeper sense of why Scrooge became Scrooge. Luke Robishaw and Caitlyn Willams played Debtor Husband and Wife to Scrooge in a scene that could be taking place in today’s time by today’s cold Scrooge bankers, management companies and landlords. Candice Burridge – Belle, Scrooge’s lost love brought out the possible love of this Scrooge making him very human all this showing all the scabs on Scrooges poor soul. David F. Slone, Esq – Christmas Present ghost helped in the torture of Scrooge. Bob Homeyer also played Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come with great movement on film – turning Scrooges final breaking point.
As part of all the ghost scenes into the future of the unchanged Scrooge was a brilliant three some of Michael Laporta – Old Joe, Crystal Field – Mrs Dilbur and Lissa Moira – the Laundress. Lissa and Crystal were brilliant in the roles of thieves making off with the possible dead Scrooge’s belongings. Having seen Crystal in a few times, this is one of her best characters I have seen her perform. All three play these wonderful characters beautifully. And the scene with Crystal and David, Mrs. Dilbur and the changed Scrooge was touchingly funny, bringing joy to everyone.
This show drives ones emotion and once you think you have gone all the way David Zen Mansley bring you deeper into joy with his directing, staging and casting. Scrooge, coming in disguised as Santa was a perfect transition to help us and Scrooge’s surprise visit to the home of Bob and Mrs. Cratchit to give them food and joy. The lovely Tiny Tim Cratchit was the brave one of the family that would have none of this non-sense of hiding behind a false bearded Santa. Ripping away Santa’s false garments to reveal the changed Scrooge. The joy of giving – sharing – helping comes through this wonderful piece. Charles Dickens’ would be extremely proud of this production.
Knowing this was a very tight budgeted show, the simple set by Dave Zen Mansley worked well, light by William Giraldo and Sound Design by Joy Linscheid was excellent.
- Stanley Allen Sherman, nyclowntheaterfestivaladam.blogspot.com
Thursday - Sunday, December 26 - 29
Thursday - Saturday 8pm
All Seats $10
Theater for the New City