The Carroll Park bathrooms - er, the Robert Acido Park House - got dressed up tonight, all done up and transformed into a Christmastime-lit, cozy playhouse for Smith Street Stage's live radio play adaptation of "A Christmas Carol." I went by myself because Michael had a nighttime soccer game in Canarsie, but also because I really, really like doing things alone.
I slipped into the second row of three rows, slipping back just as quickly to what sure as hell felt like the 1930s. A couple of tall, prop stage microphones, mismatched patterns, brick and brass, chrome wall sconces with milkglass shades, metal pole lamps with beaded fringes, small, round mirrors. There were maybe twenty-five people housed together in just a couple hundred square feet, this including the actors, but not including the characters because seven supremely talented actors played thirty-four characters in ways I can't even begin to describe. Some read scripts, some didn't, some knew exactly when to shake a bell and slam a door, some needed gentle taps on the shoulder to turn around and take this cup. I watched a sixth-grader (Tiny Tim) go quietly, carefully up and down on a step stool to reach the microphone he needed to produce breaths perfect for the mimic of whisking Scrooge to another moment in time. It made the best sense to close your eyes and listen to each sound effect, but you fought to keep them open to witness the grace of the performance. The plink-plinking of a rake's teeth; the flapping of a thin piece of sheet metal; moving fingers across the top of a water-filled wineglass; knives crossing a plate; leather shoes slapping upon bubble wrap. All of it so make-shift, but so perfectly concocted to create that Dickens soundscape.
And there's siiiiiiiinging.
For $15, I can't recommend it enough. Go before you can't go anymore.