A Christmas Carol
By Patrick Barlow
Nashville Repertory Theatre
Fall 2019
Production Team
Director: Beki Baker
Stage Manager: Catherine Forman
Scenic Design: Gary C. Hoff
Lighting Design: Michael Barnett
Costume Design: June Kingsbury

Photo: Michael Scott Evans @msephoto

Patrick Barlow’s A Christmas Carol is one of the most challenging scripts I have worked with yet. It was performed in The Johnson Theatre within the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. This version of the story was a zany take on a classic tale and it allowed the fun elements to show the heart of the story very quickly. The design elements all collaborating and created a darker world around the actors which helped accentuate what the comedic tendencies the performers had on stage. The sound world was used to set mood of the scene and to help build the underlying problem of Scrooge avoiding his fate until he finally comes face to face with the Ghost of Christmas Future.

The script itself was extremely sound heavy. It had songs from movie soundtracks, specific environmental sounds, and even called for which songs he wanted the actors to sing and when. The first challenge with this was seeing if we would be able to use the copyrighted film scores the script called for in the venue we were having the production. In the end we did not have the rights, so I set out to replace many of the songs with royalty free music to help underscore scenes. It was also a collaborative effort between the music director and myself to find songs that the actors could sing with, as we jumped back and forth between live singing and recorded singing.

This design was nominated for a Nashville First Night Award.

Gathering Darkness - Kevin MacLeod
Throughout the play, I used a few recurring themes to foreshadow Scrooge's future if he did not change his ways. This pulled piece first appears at the end of the first scene before Marley's visit and builds underneath Scrooge's crazed monologue talking of how dead Marley is and cuts with the lights at the end of the scene. I wanted to use this piece because I believe it brings up a feeling of dread and foreboding and leaves the listener unsettled.
Photo: Michael Scott Evans @msephoto
Cast Recording
There were many portions of the script that called for the cast to sing. This was not always possible due to timing, a small cast, and scene changes, so we decided to prerecord a couple of the songs to give the cast room to breath and change costumes. I worked in conjunction with the music director to find some songs we could base these a cappella recordings on. We recorded these songs "gang vocal" style on an AKG Perception 420 Microphone.
Photo: Michael Scott Evans @msephoto
Magical Wind Whoosh
Due to the nature of Scrooge's "lessons" there are a multitude of scene changes. In collaboration with the lighting designer, we developed a sequence of flashing lights with a "whoosh" sound effect to portray and cover the transitions. This cue combined with the actors riding around on a large staircase was used to give the effect of Scrooge "flying" with the different Christmas ghosts.
Photo: Michael Scott Evans @msephoto
Phonograph Edit
Scrooge's business contained many custom cues to build the atmosphere of the world. Throughout the scene, Scrooge had his phonograph playing periodically throughout the scene to show that he had Christmas spirit. I took some classic Christmas carols and edited them to make it sound as though it were actually coming from an old phonograph.
Photo: Michael Scott Evans @msephoto
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