A minimalist ‘Christmas Carol” at Brüka

after 10 years, the production returns to downtown reno

PHOTO/BRUKA THEATER: Actor-director Michael Grimm as Scrooge visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come.

Reno’s Bruka Theatre will present a minimalist version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” with 10 performances this month featuring just three actors playing all the parts.

“It’s a story of redemption and of the power of the Christmas spirit that has become an unrivaled holiday tradition in the English-speaking world,” said Mary Bennett, artistic director at the Bruka. She said the production is a “theatrical experience that is equivalent to cracking open an ancient tome and telling Christmas stories by the light of a yule log. It’s sure to give you and your family a healthy dose of the ‘Christmas Spirit.’”

A timeless classic

The revival of the theatre’s original adaptation of Dickens’ masterpiece casts three actors — Mary Bennett, Michael Grimm and Ryan Kelly – who portray more than 20 characters on a minimalist set, with an original soundtrack by Gary Kephart.

Evening shows are scheduled on Dec. 10, 11, 15 (artists’ night), 16 and 18 with curtain at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are scheduled on Sunday, Dec. 12, and Saturday, Dec. 18 with curtain at 2 p.m. The Dec. 12 show features a “talk back” with the company after the performance.

“This production gives the audience the unique opportunity to experience the story with the much-neglected narration of Dickens as its centerpiece,” Bennett said. “Much like the original storytelling that Dickens used to perform, the production is a hybrid of a staged reading and a performance piece.”

Evening shows are scheduled on Dec. 10, 11, 15 (artists’ night), 16 and 18 with curtain at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are scheduled on Sunday, Dec. 12, and Saturday, Dec. 18 with curtain at 2 p.m. The Dec. 12 show features a “talk back” with the company after the performance.

Reservations, admission

Tickets: in-advance general admission, $30; seniors/students/military members, $28.  All tickets are $32 at the door. The box office can be reached online. Masks and proof of COVID-19 vaccines are required for admission and details of those requirements are listed below.

Reservations are available in person or by phone through the Brüka Box Office (775) 323-3221, online at www.bruka.org or at the Melting Pot World Emporium, 1049 S. Virginia St. in Reno.  The theater’s box office is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays by appointment.   

A champagne reception, with Christmas carolers, is scheduled for opening night, Dec. 10. The show was last performed at the Bruka 10 years ago and is the second show of the theater’s 29th season. Parking is available in the Court Street parking lot across from The Pioneer Theater. Patrons may walk across the  Virginia Street Bridge to Brüka. Parking in the lot is free after 5 p.m. weekdays and free all day weekends.

The Brüka reopened after a 16-month shutdown during the pandemic. Brüka was named “Best Theatre Company” by Reno News and Review for 21 years. The theater has produced over 200 shows in its downtown Reno location. Those interested in future productions may sign up for the theater’s newsletter by going to its website.

The minimalist “Christmas Carol” was last performed 10 years ago and is the second show of the theater’s 29th season. Parking is available in the Court Street parking lot across from The Pioneer Theater. Patrons may walk across the  Virginia Street Bridge to Brüka. Parking in the lot is free after 5 p.m. weekdays and free all day weekends.

Brüka’s COVID-19 requirements

Guests are required to show proof of vaccination at their time of entry into the theater and they must be fully-vaccinated with a FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine. Guests  must wait at least two weeks after their final shots to attend a performance. Guests under 12 or those who have a medical issue prohibiting them from receiving a vaccine will need proof of either: a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed within 72 hours of the performance start time. The test results must clearly show the date and time of the test; or a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken within six hours of the performance start time. The test results must clearly show the date and time of the test.

Proof may be shown with a vaccination card, on guests’ phones, or their vaccination/test record. Masks are required for the audience except while eating or drinking in designated locations.

“We ask that all guests self-check before they attend the show,” Bennett said. “As vaccination has proven the most effective way to stay healthy and reduce transmission, Brüka Theatre has decided to implement these safeguards for the health and welfare of our community.”

The Brüka Theatre reopened after a 16-month shutdown during the pandemic. Brüka was named “Best Theatre Company” by Reno News and Review for 21 years. The theater has produced more than 200 shows in its downtown Reno location. Those interested in future productions may sign up for the theater’s newsletter by going to its website.

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