On Stage

My 3 Ghosts

Sussing out Scrooge

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

When the host at Saturday night’s showing of “My 3 Ghosts” asked for the audience’s help in choosing a last name for a Scrooge-like character to further the improvised reimagining of A Christmas Carol at the Upfront Theatre, it wasn’t much of a surprise to hear the word “Trump!” being yelled like an epithet from the vicinity of the front row.

With a slight alteration, “Chad Frump” became both the protagonist and antagonist of the night’s actions. And with a few more asks from nimble host Sammy Jolly, grumpy Frump became a forklift operator working in a warehouse that doubled as an orphanage.

Through the course of the next hour-and-a-half, the story followed the general plot made famous by Charles Dickens, but with more than a few tweaks. Much like Ebenezer Scrooge, Chad Frump—played with frothy feistiness by Michael Brannan—was meanspirited to just about everyone (including orphans, natch). Unlike Scrooge, Frump was married and had a kid and a job that required him to do manual labor.

The theme of redemption figures big in A Christmas Carol, and those attending remaining performances of “My 3 Ghosts” at 8pm Fridays and Saturdays through December can expect to see that played out onstage. (And because every show and cast is different, the scenarios I’m describing won’t function as spoiler alerts for future visitors.)

In the case of the performance I attended, adroit actors such as Trevor Gjendem, Jordan Baker, Kathy Soles, Maddie Neuman, and Deanna Fleysher—a force of nature who portrayed everyone from Frump’s nose-picking toddler to a few wild-eyed younger versions of Chad—worked together to introduce ghosts, coworkers, orphans, family members and other assorted characters to the mix.

By the time the payoff came in the form of a Frump who saw the errors of his ways and awoke to Christmas day as a man who’d realized that his current lifestyle would end with him interred in a lonely grave, the audience was obviously invested in the story—regardless of already knowing how it would likely end.

If you’re looking for a way to entertain friends and family who’ve gathered for the holidays, it would be a good idea to purchase tickets for “My 3 Ghosts” in advance, as Saturday’s sold-out gig doesn’t seem like it was a fluke. The same goes for a special “Holiday Hellingham” show taking place at the late-night show Thurs., Dec. 21 at the Bay Street improv hub. In both cases, we’re guessing the gift of laughter will also be a part of the equation.

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