You know the story of "A Christmas Carol," right? It’s about Ebenezer Scrooge, who is haunted on Christmas Eve and learns the true meaning of Christmas.
And if by some strange chance you don’t know it, you can learn it pretty easily with an Internet search or at one of the many holiday productions that retell the tale – including Harlequin Productions’ current “A Stardust Christmas Carol.”
But if you want ghost Jacob Marley’s side of the story, you’ll have to check in with Olympia Little Theater, which is telling the tale from beyond the grave. In Tom Mula’s “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol,” Scrooge’s dead-as-a-doornail business partner gets an assignment to redeem his tight-fisted, hard-hearted colleague.
“Really, technically, ‘A Christmas Carol’ is a ghost story,” said Pug Bujeaud, who’s directing the show.
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“Marley goes to an office in hell,” Bujeaud said. “He meets this spirit who has been attached to him his whole life, Bogle, and he signs a paper without looking and it says, ‘Save Scrooge’s soul in 24 hours or you’re damned for all eternity.’ ”
In this version of the story, Marley does all the haunting himself. “He comes to Scrooge as Marley, and Scrooge is not impressed, so they decide to try something more,” Bujeaud said. “Marley is possessed by the ghosts of past, present and future.”
The show includes a lot of Dickens’s dialogue – particularly when Scrooge is involved – but adds whole new dimensions to the story, too, particularly the character of Bogle, the mischievous and malicious demon who serves as Marley’s assistant of sorts on the mission.
And the new point of view isn’t the only thing that sets this play apart from traditional productions of “A Christmas Carol.” It’s not a standard drama but rather story theater.
“Four actors are playing all the parts, and all of them are in charge of some of the narration,” Bujeaud said. “They are popping in and out, being a character and talking about what that character does.
“Story theater keeps bowing to the fact that you are putting on a piece of theater. The characters comment on their own actions.”
The twist is part of the story’s charm.
In a review of a current production in Omaha, Bob Fischbach wrote in the World-Herald, “This is great, great storytelling,” adding that he’d be hard-pressed to choose between “Marley” and a lavish traditional “Carol.”
And the story won over Bujeaud, who said her initial reaction to the script was: “Christmas? I don’t do Christmas.”
“It’s a play about redemption, about the important things of the season,” she said. “I’m not a particularly religious person, but the story is timeless and a good thing for us all to remember.”
Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol
What: Olympia Little Theatre presents a modern reinterpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic ghost story — told from the ghost’s point of view.
When: 7:55 p.m. today and Saturday plus Dec. 9-11 and 16-18; 1:55 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 12 and 19
Where: Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Ave. N.E., Olympia
Tickets: $10 for Thursday shows; $12 for weekend shows
Information: 360-786-9484 or www.olympialittletheater.org