A theatre company that performs wearing full-face masks will be bringing its whimsical re-imagining of the classic holiday story A Christmas Carol to Chilliwack.
Wonderheads is a multi award-winning company and they will bring Ebenezer Scrooge’s magical journey to life on Dec. 8 when A Wonderheads Christmas Carol comes to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
The Wonderheads specialize in visual storytelling with a mix of puppetry, full-face mask performances, virtuosic physical performances and theatrical invention. Their work is performed wordless.
The show features 20 masks and puppets, including a 10-foot-tall Ghost of Christmas Present, all designed by company co-founding artistic directors Kate Braidwood and Andrew Phoenix.
Braidwood embraces the ‘live-action Pixar’ comparison often used to describe the company’s work.
“It’s a real compliment because, like Pixar, we set out to create entertaining and enchanting shows that resonate with all ages,” Braidwood said.
“Our take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a heartfelt examination of greed and compassion that includes glowing ghosts, joyful giants, and the sweetest Tiny Tim you’ve ever seen; we’re aiming to make each audience member laugh, cry, and gasp with wonder,” Phoenix added.
Devised and co-directed by Braidwood and Phoenix, A Wonderheads Christmas Carol features Braidwood as Ebenezer Scrooge; Pedro M. Siqueira as Bob Cratchit, the Ghost of Christmas Present and Fezziwig; Jessica Hickman as Marley, Fred, Belle, and the Ghost of Christmas Future; and Sarah Robertson as Mrs. Cratchit, The Ghost of Christmas Past, and Mrs. Fezziwig.
“Our ensemble is breathing hard by the end of the 70 minute show,” Phoenix said. “In one moment, a performer is playing Bob Cratchit, in the next, running backstage to put on a huge backpack puppet, and the next, spinning set pieces through in the air in a cyclone of time travel.”
The show also features an original score composed by L.A.-based band, The Singer and the Songwriter.
Peter Balkwill is on the creative team as puppetry and dramaturgy advisor, and a lineup of designers has helped create the production. Masks and puppets are designed by Braidwood and Phoenix, projection design is by Jason King, costume design by Hannah Case and Hannah Ockenden, set and lighting design is by Theodore R. Sherman and Carolyn Moon, and illustrations by Christache Ross.
The Wonderheads have spent more than a decade touring the world, from Alaska to Hawaii, Shanghai to Los Angeles, and Victoria to St. John’s — to critical acclaim and sold-out audiences who describe the experience as watching animation come to life.
They have garnered five Critics’ Choice Awards and 12 Best of Fest awards, making it their business to step beyond words and into the hearts and imaginations of every audience member.
A Wonderheads Christmas Carol is at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $28 to $44 and can be purchased at the Centre Box Office, online at chilliwackculturalcentre.ca, or by calling 604-391-SHOW(7469).