A Christmas Carol, written by Charles Dickens, is an already well known holiday story that makes its way around as a Christmas classic. Many are familiar with the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, teaching viewers about the values of being a good person through some funny characters, and of course, holiday cheer. Yet when A Christmas Carol turns into improv and Scrooge is the head of a meditation school, the story we know so well becomes much funnier, and maybe even better than before.
The special thing about A(n improvised) Christmas Carol is that the audience are the ones who create the story. A half hour before the show, one of the actors came out to ask a series of questions that would impact how the rest of the night went. The audience got to choose things like the quirks of each character, such as playing with other people’s hair when stressed. He asked who was returning to see the show again. I watched from my seat as loud cheers and applause erupted from the crowd. More than half of the room, which was full, raised their hands with excitement and chatter. There was also us newcomers, silent at first, who also raised our hands, still excited for what was next. I loved that the audience had people of all ages. This made it a friendlier experience, which I appreciated since this was my first improv show. A favorite suggestion of mine from the audience was making Tiny Tim sick from laser eye disease. Later on this was incorporated into the show when we saw Tiny Tim walk out with huge goggles on his face to protect his eyes from lasering others. Some other suggestions that made it into the show that night included Scrooge living under the stairs, the Ghost of Christmas Past being a teletubbie, Scrooge having a stash of hidden gold bars, and Scrooge licking Cratchit’s toes. The ability each actor has to add their own special touch to a character is remarkable, incorporating the tiny quirks mentioned by the audience and adding their own ideas as well, such as how Scrooge liked to slam doors or the Ghost of Christmas Past liked to repeat “Your mom is dead!” and “Scrooge is sad!” over and over again. Even my own suggestion, taping pictures of people’s faces to a door to evoke joy, was incorporated multiple times into the show. I loved that feeling of accomplishment when your suggestion made people laugh.