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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — “Bah! Humbug!” — says Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
But by the end of the story, after encountering the ghost of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s deceased business partner, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, Scrooge is cheerfully wishing everyone “Merry Christmas!”
The Colfax Public Library and the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group will be sponsoring the Stage Door Unlocked Production of “A Christmas Carol,” A Reading by Charles Dickens, in the Cozy Theater at the Colfax Municipal Building December 18.
“A Christmas Carol” was originally published December 19, 1843.
“Charles Dickens wrote ‘A Christmas Carol’ almost two hundred years ago, but the story still feels fresh,” said Lisa Bragg-Hurlburt, director of the Colfax Public Library.
“Scrooge is such a terrible, unlikeable character in the beginning. But as we find out more about his life, about his past and his feelings and fears, we start to root for him. So his transformation at the end of the book is incredibly satisfying and always makes me want to go out and do a bunch of good things for people,” she said.
“That’s the perfect mood for the Christmas holiday. I invite everyone to come see this retelling of the story, to help yourself get into the right holiday mood,” Bragg-Hurlburt said.
The one-man production features Nate Plummer as Charles Dickens and is based on the American Reading Tour that Dickens performed in the late 1800s in which Dickens portrayed all of the characters in his book.
The modern-day production makes use of current theater technology, such as LED lighting, projections and sound effects, to explore how Dickens might present the show today.
According to a news release, “Stage Door Unlocked Productions is a professional touring company based in Wisconsin. We know that people often believe that high quality theater can only happen in big cities and in performance venues that cost millions of dollars to build. At Stage Door Unlocked Productions, we know … incredible theater magic can happen in smaller venues, too.”
Nate Plummer is originally from Chippewa Falls and started performing at the age of seven with various theater groups, according to his biography on the Stage Door Unlocked Productions website.
He started working as a professional magician and ventriloquist when he was 15 years old, and that year, he won the Axtell Expressions Video Contest, which earned not only international recognition for his work as a ventriloquist but also the chance to perform as the opening act for world-famous ventriloquist Ronn Lucas at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, according to the biography.
Plummer continued to perform as a ventriloquist and magician while he attended the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. He graduated with a Comprehensive Theatre Arts Degree with emphases in Theatre for Youth/Education and Performance. He studied Theatre for Youth/Education with Dr. Jennifer Chapman of The American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) and worked with her in numerous capacities in her touring theatre and theatre outreach programming. Plummer completed his Theatre Education Internship at Birder Studio (formerly Performer’s Workshop) of De Pere under the direction of Artistic Director Alicia Birder.
Upon graduating he joined the Missoula Children’s Theatre International Tour Project as a tour actor and director (teaching artist) where he taught hour-long musical productions to children ages six to 18 all over the country, the biography states.
Plummer founded Stage Door Unlocked in 2015. Since opening, the studio he has worked with clients in over 35 states, every US time zone, and 12 countries. His e-books and musical theater repertoire guides have sold hundreds of copies all over the world. Stage Door Unlocked’s workshops have served over 5,000 participants to date all over North America, according to the biography.
In recent weeks, cases of COVID-19 have been increasing locally and across the state, with case numbers in Wisconsin approaching the highest case numbers from last year.
The current recommendation from the Dunn County Health Department is no more than 25 people indoors, although that recommendation was issued in September, when the average number of daily cases was much lower.
On December 1, Dunn County confirmed 124 new cases of COVID-19 for that day alone, according to KT Gallagher, director of the Dunn County Health Department.
Masks will not be required to attend “A Christmas Carol,” but the wearing of masks would be appreciated.
“We encourage mask use and social distancing,” Bragg-Hurlburt said.
“We’ll provide free masks and sanitizer at the door, and there should be plenty of room for people to sit apart,” she said.
“A Christmas Carol” begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 18, in the upstairs auditorium at the Colfax Municipal Building.
Free-will donations will go toward the Colfax Municipal Building elevator project.