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‘Carol’ returns to a humble beginning

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Christmas Classics Radio Theater is a way for audiences to share the spirit of “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, says director by Becky Mayo.

“The theatrical story is being created before their eyes and it allows the audience to participate in what is being created,” says Mayo, who adapted the Adobe Theater version directly from Dickens.

The audience will be called on to create sound effects like sleigh bells, horses hooves, doors slamming and clocks ticking as if they were part of a live radio broadcast, she explains. The participation helps bring the audience into the meaning of the play, just as it does for the actors on stage.

If you go
WHAT: Christmas Classics Radio Theater presents Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1; 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Runs through Dec. 16.
WHERE: The Adobe Theater, 9813 Fourth NW
HOW MUCH: $15 general admission, $13 seniors and students. For reservations call 898-9222 weekdays or order online at

“It’s connectedness in a personal way. Everything reinforces the overall message that we are living in the past, present and future at every moment,” Mayo explains.

The humanistic message of “A Christmas Carol” transcends the holiday season, she says. The character of Jacob Marley’s ghost, played by Rick Wiles, who was the former business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge, played Ray Orley, makes it clear what the play is about.

“We are all fellow travelers to the grave,” she says, quoting Marley’s ghost. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence were all my business.”

“We can be better than we are. Change is possible,” she says. “I love the play. I love the message of the play. But beyond the message, it’s just a great story.”

In addition to this adaptation, her 17th play, she also has been a musical director for previous performances of “A Christmas Carol,” she adds.

The adaptation was an interesting experience: “The challenge is to preserve the integrity of Dickens’ words. It’s a reading experience turned into a theatrical production. I worked to preserve the language and to keep all the lines that people love.”

Veteran actor and director Brian Hansen narrates the play, while radio veteran Mike Langner manages sound and the special ghostly effects.

Cast members include a mix of Adobe veterans – Hansen, Wiles, Orley and Virginia Dare Chavez, Alan Hudson, Frank Melcori, Linda Williams and Hugh Witemeyer as well as newcomers Soraya Baraque, Erica Entrop, Tom Pentecost, Athena Swartz, Michelle Varela and J.R. Ramoso as Tiny Tim, according to an Adobe Theater news release.

Mayo says she hopes to find an actual radio broadcast opportunity for the production.

“Dickens was a social commentator of his time,” she says. “He wrote about the plight of people who were not well off. There is a huge commonality with our times, for all times. It’s an opportunity to recognize our interconnectedness as a community.”