Fun holiday show to get on your radar with “A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa” from the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre (CAMT).
Held from December 22 to January 2 at the Theater for the New City, the show is an adaptation of Dickens’ classic with Old World accents and New World inclusiveness. Adapted, directed and reinvented by Vit Horejs, it features over 30 puppets by Milos Kasal including a quartet of Rockettes in Slovak, Moravian and Ruthenian folk costumes and holiday songs in Czech, English, Hebrew, Slovak, Spanish and Swahili.
This toy-puppet theater extravaganza is a new take on Charles Dickens’ classic with a few twists and digressions. Into the familiar story is woven a surprising and delightful blend of English, Jewish, African, American and Czech winter rituals and customs, all performed by over three dozen marionettes ranging in size from four to twenty-four inches as well as found objects and toys. Mr. Horejs operates the whole cast of puppets, backed up by a live chorus: an “a capella monumentale” choir of Katarina Vizina (a transplant from Slovakia) and Valois Mickens (West African/Celtic/Native American origin). The piece is still set in Old London, but with Czech accents. Imagine that the familiar tale was told to you not by an English serial novelist, but by your Czech grandmother.
The set uses a century-old toy marionette theater donated by Madeleine Albright. Vit Horejs uses a Bob Cratchit character from his mother’s identical set that he played with in his childhood
There are ghost puppets by Vit Horejs and unknown folk carvers and a Camel marionette that has played an intruder in several CAMT shows. Set and costume design are by company member Michelle Beshaw, a two-time Innovative Theatre Awards winner.
Czech Marionettes in “A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa” Tickets:
The playing schedule is: evenings at 8:00 PM: Dec. 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 & Jan. 1; matinees at 3:00 PM: Dec. 26 & Jan 2 (eight performances). Running time is 75 minutes.