By Frank Ruggiero
Seeing a live production of “A Christmas Carol” is one thing.
Living the show is another.
On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Southern Appalachian Historical Association, producers of the popular “Horn in the West” outdoor drama and Hickory Ridge Living History Museum, will host “An Appalachian Christmas Carol,” a unique and interactive spin on the Charles Dickens classic.
Rather than watch the play from a theater seat, guests will witness the story unfold as they tour the outdoor museum’s historic cabins.
“Think of it as a tour in which you encounter all of the characters from ‘A Christmas Carol,’” said Carson Sailor, executive director of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association. “There will be a safety briefing at the beginning, and after that, Scrooge and the ghosts become your guides, as you follow them through our little village of cabins.”
“So, instead of being from the Victorian era, ours is an 18th-century long hunter version of Scrooge,” Sailor explained. “Instead of running a lending house, Scrooge is an agent of the fur company, who doesn’t give people fair prices on their pelts — and winds up getting cursed by a granny woman, who puts a hex on him and Marley.”
The story was adapted by Cary Curlee, Appalachian studies instructor at Wilkes Community College, and stars a cast of present and veteran “Horn in the West” actors and Hickory Ridge volunteers and staff members.
“I’m really proud of my crew for putting it together,” Sailor said of the production. “I think Cary did a really good job of adapting the script. When the town of Boone was going to redo Daniel Boone Park (home of ‘Horn in the West’), they were going to use the slogan, ‘Where Boone tells its story.’ So, a lot of programming I’m trying to do is about sharing our story.
“While this is totally fictional, the foundation of the story is still something that could have happened — there were as many crooked fur trade agents as the day is long, so to speak — and it’s just fun to pull a lot of that cultural heritage that would’ve been up here in the 1700s.”
The play runs approximately 40 minutes, and show times are scheduled for 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, weather permitting. Admission costs $10 for adults and $5 for children and is available at the “Horn in the West” box office the night of the production.
Proceeds from admission will benefit the museum.
Hickory Ridge Living History Museum is located at 591 Horn in the West Drive in Boone. For more information, call (828) 264-2120, or visit www.horninthewest.com.