Penguin Playhouse opens “A Steampunk Christmas Carol” Dec. 5 and 6

Alexander Samuels portrays the Ghost of Christmas Present in University Theater’s production of A Steampunk Christmas Carol.

Alexander Samuels portrays the Ghost of Christmas Present in University Theater’s production of A Steampunk Christmas Carol.

“A Steampunk Christmas Carol,” an adaptation of the classic Dickens holiday tale, will be performed Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6, in Ford Theater on the campus of Youngstown State University.

The one-hour play, directed by Scott Irelan, chair of the YSU Department of Theater and Dance, will be performed by Penguin Playhouse and Alpha Psi Omega, University Theater’s student-run production arm. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.

While the story and words follow the Dickens’ classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions, the Steampunk genre has been adapted into the storyline.

“The words are largely Dickens,” Irelan said. “The designs by students, staff and faculty, though, are all Steampunk both in inspiration and in execution. The adaptation has been a collaboration between myself as the director, and students both in Script Analysis class last spring and those on the creative team now. The mashup will be fun.”

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes fictional works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used, usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain. It has prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, it often features anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them.

Families are also invited to participate in holiday activities in the lobby provided by the Alpha Psi Omega and Penguin Playhouse students.

Students performing are: Claudia Gage (Poland, OH); Dylan Grinnell (Sharpsville, PA); Christopher Hager (Youngstown, OH); Morgan Kirksey (Pittsburgh, PA); Theresa Leonard (Youngstown, OH); John Rusk (West Chester, OH); Alexander Samuels (Worthington, OH); and Ben Bogen (Canfield, OH).

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens, students and children. More information and reservations are available by calling the University Theater Box Office at 330-941-3105.