Snake River Radio Players ready to spread holiday spirit with ‘A Christmas Carol’

Idaho Falls

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This photo shows the Snake River Radio Players performing last year’s show, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ | Facebook

IDAHO FALLS — If your Christmas spirit is running low, the Snake River Radio Players have just the booster shot for you. These local actors are staging their production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” this week at Trinity United Methodist Church.

The Radio Players were founded by director Tasha Bere, who tells the idea for the group came to her unexpectedly.

“I was in a play and had been in a run of shows, and I said ‘I’m done. I need a break.’ And then the very next day after that show closed, I woke up and said ‘I want to do a radio Christmas show,” Bere says.

The group has produced four shows over three seasons, including “Miracle on 34th Street”, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Little Women.”

The players will stage “A Christmas Carol” as if it were a radio broadcast from the 1940s. Actors will stand and microphones performing their roles, while foley artists provide sound effects to help complete the atmosphere of the scene.

The set will be decorated with clocks to highlight the theme of time, a prominent theme in “A Christmas Carol.”

“With Scrooge, a lot of what he’s dealing with is a wasted life and the little time he has left,” Bere says.

Bere says the group’s productions have grown more emotionally complex and heavy during the course of its lifetime.

“‘Miracle on 34th Street’ is kind of light and easy emotionally,” she says. “But as we’ve progressed, we’ve gone into these shows that the emotion and the expression of the show itself are darker and more difficult to convey to an audience, especially just through voice because we don’t have movements or other things that help an actor show an audience how they’re feeling.”

The Radio Players’ take on “A Christmas Carol” may surprise audiences who may only be familiar with more recent adaptions featuring Mickey Mouse or the Muppets.

“To take a line from one of our cast members, ‘It’s going to be more Dickens and less Disney,’” Bere says. “It’s going to be very true to the story itself and be a bit darker.”

She reminds us that “It IS a ghost story.”

Nonetheless, Bere hopes people will be uplifted and leave the show feeling the Christmas spirit.

“We hope people leave feeling enlightened and understanding the weight that it takes for a soul to change,” she says.

Bere also says the “radio theater broadcast” aspect of the show offers potential showgoers a unique experience. “It’s as if you’re in the studio audience of a 1940s radio play,” she says. “The sound effects are live, and our actors are playing multiple roles, and those things are different to audiences in the area.”

She says although many people enter their shows skeptical that such a production can work, they leave thoroughly impressed by what they see and hear.

You can catch the Snake River Radio Player’s production “A Christmas Carol” Thursday, Dec. 13, and Friday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m, and Saturday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church in Idaho Falls. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted and go toward the church’s renovation fund, with donations from Saturday night’s show going to the Upper Valley Child Advocacy Center.

Note: The church is currently undergoing renovations and is without running water.