Dufflebag bringing Dickens classic to Festival

EDITOR’S NOTE: We received notification from the Town of Morinville Nov. 16 that the Dufflebag Theatre show had been cancelled due to a lack of ticket sales.

by Stephen Dafoe

Dufflebag Theatre currently has 15 shows in their repertoire, each taking twists and turns on classics, including The Three Musketeers, Beauty and the Beast, and even Shakespear’s MacBeth. But on Nov. 25, Dufflebag Theatre will get into the holiday season during Morinville’s Lite Up the Nite Festival with their take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

“They can expect the unexpected!” says DuffleBag Theatre’s Artistic Directo Marcus Lundgren. “As with all of our shows, we bring audience members on stage with us to play the main parts. Since we have no idea who that will be, it’s our job to make whatever they do part of the story, but we still have to get from once-upon-a-time to happily-ever-after.”

Lundgren said despite the twists and turns of impromptu theatre; Dufflebag remains faithful to the original Dickens story all while throwing in a lot of contemporary humour for all ages. “There’s a lot of improvisation and audience participation, and it makes for an amazing time,” he said.

At the heart of every DuffleBag Theatre show is the desire to create a hilarious experience with their audience. By selecting classic stories people are familiar with, the audience understands where Dufflebag deviates and inserts their version of things.

Dufflebag offers an all-ages show; a performance parents will enjoy as much as the kids. Lundgren says the group often find more parents in the audience on a return visit than on their initial trip to a community.

“We’re told it’s because the kids have re-enacted everything around the dinner table and the other parent has realized they missed a shared experience as a family,” he says. “We make sure that there’s just as much fun stuff in the show for adults to enjoy too. It truly is suitable for all ages.”

There are four DuffleBag Theatre cast members in any given show, as well as some actors brought up from the audience.

A unique attribute of Dufflebag Theatre’s performance philosophy is having pretty much everyone in the troupe learning all of the parts for all of the shows. For Lundgren, it’s all about versatility and perspective.

“There’s nothing like watching the versatility of an actor who can change things up on a whim,” he said. “By knowing and playing every part, our DuffleBag Theatre actors bring a new perspective to each role, and that increases the level of improvisation that can happen. It’s one of the reasons our audiences love coming to see our shows.”

Dufflebag Theatre’s A Christmas Carol is a 60-minute presentation taking place Friday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. Tickets are $12 each or $35 for a family of four. They are available for purchase at the cultural centre during business hours.

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