GUTHRIE — The Pollard Theatre has been performing “A Territorial Christmas Carol,” Stephen P. Scott's specialized adaptation of the classic Dickens tale, for 26 years. This year's cheerful and thoughtful production, directed by W. Jerome Stevenson, delivers the archetypal morality tale wrapped in an Oklahoma setting and provides an evening of slightly spooky fun.
Framed by the circumstances of the Moody family, 1889 “Boomers,” and their neighbors celebrating the holidays in 1893, the story is narrated by their unexpected English guest “Charlie,” who tells the tale to the boy William, the last child left at home.
The tale itself is nothing new. The setting — in the days just after the 1889 run on the Unassigned Lands — gives this production a local flavor that helps ground it in Oklahoma history.
Timothy Stewart ties the show together as “Charlie” (identified in the program as “Dickens”), narrating us through the visitations and the events that lead Scrooge to his repentance and conversion. James Ong gives us a Scrooge who is sarcastic, snide and unexpectedly witty; this Scrooge demonstrates the native intelligence that makes his eventual conversion a choice, and a believable one at that.
Costuming the Ghost of Christmas Past in robes that suggest American Indian culture offers a gentle recognition to the people displaced by the land run. The spirit was played with strength and grace by Trinity Goodwin, who has native heritage. Goodwin also played a number of other roles, as did almost everyone in the cast. Jared Blount, an unexpectedly slender Ghost of Christmas Present, was also four other characters. The cast as a whole demonstrated great flexibility in movement from one role to another.