Chennai’s Mellow Circle stages its annual Christmas play this weekend

A sequel to A Christmas Carol, this is a feel-good Yuletide play that delves into giving, forgiving, and the real meaning of Christmas

Published - November 22, 2023 05:40 pm IST

A rehearsal in progress

A rehearsal in progress

Every year, the biggest challenge that the organisers of Mellow Circle’s annual play face is that of finding a good Christmas story. It has to be secular enough, connect with the audience, and hold their attention from start to end, says Michael Muthu, play director.

This year’s production, A Carol for Tiny Tim, written by John R Carroll, is a sequel to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. “The story takes place 15 years after the prequel. While old Scrooge had a miraculous transformation, Tiny Tim has grown up to be a nasty piece of work. He is mooching off others, using his limp as an excuse. The Spirits of Christmas have thus been summoned to teach Tiny Tim a lesson in humanity,” says Michael.

Scenes from last year’s production

Scenes from last year’s production

This is Mellow Circle’s 24th play in as many years. The first play took place in 2000. In 2020, the production was in the form of a movie. “I have been directing plays for Mellow Circle for 21 years,” says Michael. This year, the cast is gigantic, with 28 actors (between the ages of 12 and 70), 40 musicians in the choir that will be conducted by Roshni Sharon, 12 dancers, and 10 people helping out backstage with costume changes , props, lights, sound, and set movement. 

The choir will add to the Christmas vibe with songs such asThis Christmas’, ‘Muppet Christmas Medley’, ‘Wish You A Merry Christmas’,andChristmas for Children’.

“These songs are not well known, but deserve to be known,” adds Michael. It is quite difficult to integrate these songs into the play. “This time, some of the songs didn’t fit with the theme or period of the play. I segregated them and used them as opening and closing songs of a scene instead,” he says.

The choir doing what it does best

The choir doing what it does best

With only three days to go, rehearsals are on in full swing at the Union Christian Association School in Kilpauk. With the play set in the 1860s, characters garbed in costumes from that era waltz in and out of the gates, often garnering curious looks from passers-by. “We’ve been practising every evening between 7pm and 9pm since September. The selection of the play starts by August. I read as many scripts as I can,” says Michael.

The duration of the play is a little over two hours. Every year it takes place in the last weekend of November since it is close to World Aids Day on December 1. The funds from the play, as always, will go to Prathyasha, a home for children with HIV.

A Carol For Tiny Tim will take place on November 26 at 6pm at Sir Mutha Venkata Subba Rao Concert Hall, Harrington Road. For tickets, log on to www.5oh9.com or call 9840029047.

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