BANFF – Bringing a timeless holiday classic to the stage once again, A Christmas Carol will be lighting up the Fairmont Banff Springs theatre in December.
Dawning his meanest “bah humbug” scowl, actor Paul Cowling will be returning to the stage to play Ebeneezer Scrooge – the ultimate Christmas Grinch who sees the errors of his way after a visit from three Christmas spirit guides.
“It’s a magical show, it’s a timeless show,” Cowling said. “It’s something people look forward to seeing every year.”
Presenting the Charles Dickens' holiday classic in Banff is a unique experience, Cowling said, explaining that it is amazing to bring A Christmas Carol to life at the Fairmont Banff Springs theatre under the direction of Bridget Ryan. He added that the Christmas decorations at the castle create a magical experience for guests that are complemented by the snow blanketing the community.
It is a privilege being a part of the show, Cowling said, because each year they have audience members from across the world attend.
“It’s a story that all of us can relate to,” he said. “Everybody can relate to those knocks we get in life and how we react to them, the choices that we make – I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t want to achieve redemption for something.”
He added that A Christmas Carol is a special production because it taps into the universal experience of regret, the wish to re-do critical moments in life and the hope to leave the world a better place.
“It really is an honour to do this particular story because this is a story that has lasted over 150 years,” Cowling said. “It speaks to something deep within us.”
It has been fun bringing the play together, stage manager Linda Mullen said, because everyone has been hard at work creating an amazing play for audiences.
An important part of transporting audiences back to early 19th Century London has been the creation of a set unique to the show, Mullen said, which serves to enrich the hard work of the talented actors and the experience for audiences. Local artist Jason Carter designed the set for the play.
“He’s created these beautiful set pieces that are so flexible and able to adapt to each scene,” Mullen said. “It really brings the story together – you’re marrying the two worlds of theatre and his art.”
It is a special time of year because the holidays bring people from across the globe to the Fairmont Banff Springs, she said, and the play offers a unique opportunity to unite people together in festive cheer.
“It’s a magical moment,” Mullen said. “It’s really unique to have a live theatre performance in a hotel that is as big as this.”
Performing at the Fairmont enhances the experience for audiences, stage manager Roxanne Cote said, because it captures the spirit of the holiday cheer that permeates the play.
A Christmas Carol is a timeless show that can be enjoyed by any age, Cote said. She added that the play leaves everyone in the theatre inspired to go out and make the world a little better.
The play is family-friendly, and while the ghosts that visit Scrooge can be a little scary for younger audience members, the joy of the play outweighs the fright.
“It truly is a magical experience,” Cote said. “It’s the perfect show for Christmas.”
A Christmas Carol will be showing at the Fairmont Banff Springs theatre from Nov. 29 to Dec. 28, including special performances on Christmas eve and Christmas Day. Tickets are $36 for adults and $26 for students between the ages of three and 12 years old. Visit christmasatthecastle.ca for more details.