When we began taking suggestions for entries to the Jobsite Digital Shorts series, Artistic Associate Salem Brophy was one of the first to strike up a conversation. The idea? Returning to the simplicity of enjoying someone reading a good ghost story while huddled around the fireplace with a warm cup of whatever you like.

Being that we’re all living in the midst of a pandemic, that idea would require a bit of adjustment: so how about we huddle around our webcams instead?

Salem set out to find five readers, one for each stave* of Charles Dickens’ iconic A Christmas Carol, along with a few listeners for each stave. The group would get together over a video call, the reader would read, and then the group would enter into an unfiltered (viewer discretion advised) conversation about what it was they just heard.

A Christmas Carol was published in 1843 as a novella, not a play, and wouldn’t be adapted as such for several years. Before it was performed by George C. Scott or The Muppets, it was read in living rooms with families gathered around to listen. Join the Jobsite family as we gather for a ghost story — feeling 1843 closeness with 2020 technology.

The result? Nearly ten hours of content for the Jobsite Digital Shorts series and our very first bona fide piece of Christmas programming. Can you believe it?

Here’s more from Salem on his vision:

Viewers can choose to just listen in to readers Roxanne Fay, Betty-Jane Parks, Ned Averill-Snell, Paul J. Potenza, and Cornelio Aguilera delight us with their part of the great ghost story, or stick around for the whole chat featuring the reader, Salem, and the contributions of folks like Michael C. McGreevy, Nick Hoop, Dr. Clareann Despain, Roz Potenza, Martin Powers, Troy Brooks, and Dr. Tara Nkrumah! Staves one through four are 40-50m of reading and the final stave is around 15m of the read, all prior to the open chatback that touches on a number of subjects from classical literature to current events.

Jobsite Digital Shorts are a way for us to stay connected with the community while offering both content for folks at home and paid employment opportunities for artists while most theater work has ceased. Individual video rentals are just $1.99 and we also have a pass to the entire archive for $9.99. ALL proceeds from rentals of Jobsite Digital Shorts goes directly into the pockets of the artists who created the work!

*A stave is a chapter in A Christmas Carol. Dickens is acting as if the book is a Christmas carol, and each chapter is part of the song. Stave is another word for “staff.” In music, a staff is how music is written.

 

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