Arts Performing Arts

WCU Presents Radio Drama Adaptation of a Holiday Classic

Scrooge. Victoria Depew, faculty and Jasmine Herbert, student. Costume co-designers

The School of Stage & Screen at Western Carolina University (WCU) presents the radio drama A Ghost of Christmas Past, now available on three platforms. The play was created by Ashlee Wasmund and Kristen Hedberg and features original lyrics and compositions with an interesting twist on the holiday classic A Christmas Carol: the main character is Fan, the younger sister of Ebenezer Scrooge. “I have always been drawn to the character of Fan, who rarely gets more than a couple minutes stage time, if she’s included at all,” says Wasmund, the writer and director of the play. “Working on this adaptation offered me the chance to explore my curiosity in Fan and examine her significance in Scrooge’s journey.”

Hedberg, the play’s composer and lyricist, used this adaptation to explore musical storytelling. “I chose to write songs at active points in the characters’ storylines, where the plot could move forward through the song, rather than stopping the story to sing about something and then continue,” she says. “The principal characters are equally weighted, bringing the female characters so integral to Scrooge’s life into balance with the male characters. After all, it is this particular imbalance in Scrooge that has separated him from his true self and a chance for family and love.”

While the pair initially planned for this to be a stage production, they pivoted to create a radio drama that allowed actors to record their dialogue from home voice studios. This was entirely new for Wasmund. “Working in this new way has allowed me, and I hope others, a chance to explore new modes of storytelling, working and producing creative work we may not have ever otherwise thought or had the chance to do,” she says.

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