Matt Opatrny always loved Charles Dickens’ tale A Christmas Carol, but had some questions about what happened in it.
Why was Scrooge so angry, especially at his nephew?
How was it possible for Scrooge to change his entire life so drastically and so quickly?
The Shelton High School Class of 1992 graduate got a chance to answer those questions and more in his production company’s adaptation of the classic.
Opatrny said he looks into Scrooge’s childhood — something not really touched on during adaptations — as well as Scrooge’s relationship with his sister, and how that affected his relationship with his nephew.
Opatrny co-founded Blessed Unrest, which opened the show this past weekend and will continue it through Dec. 22 in New York.
He said it’s not in human nature for people to make a 180-degree turn in their lifelong personality as Scrooge did, and he wanted to explore how that would go. Also, he wanted to know more about Scrooge’s relationship with his sister.
Six actors play 37 roles in this adaptation. Opatrny said in a Monday interview that a special aspect of the show is the diversity of the cast. They also have a relationship with the Teatri Oda of Kosovo, and Opatrny said he is proud of that connection.
Opatrny still remembers how he got started in theater with Fran and Gary Scarpa’s Youth CONNection, which celebrated its 30-year anniversary recently.
“I can still remember that first day of rehearsals,” he recalled of driving to Derby for his first rehearsal. He credits the Scarpas and his performing in high school plays and more in Shelton for where he is now in his career.
Blessed Unrest, based in New York City, uses physical performance in its plays, including the adaptation.
About the performances
In 1843, Charles Dickens planned to publish a political pamphlet entitled “An Appeal to the People of England on Behalf of the Poor Man’s Child,” but instead wrote A Christmas Carol.
This adaptation returns to the story’s original intent as an examination of an unjust socio-economic system that benefits a few at the top while the masses struggle to meet their basic needs. It shows the capacity of an individual to break out of solitude, strive to be known, and enact positive change, according to publicity material.
Performances of A Christmas Story through Dec. 22 are Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m., with an additional show on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $18 for performances at the Interart Theatre and may be purchased online at www.BlessedUnrest.org or by calling 646-238-0829.
The running time is 90 minutes with no intermission. After every performance, audience members are invited to stay and mingle with the artists and actors at post-show parties in the theater lobby.