Donna Shirnberg (right) rehearses Tuesday with Hannah Tauriainen in preparation for “Inspecting Carol” Tuesday at the Triumvirate North Theatre in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Donna Shirnberg (right) rehearses Tuesday with Hannah Tauriainen in preparation for “Inspecting Carol” Tuesday at the Triumvirate North Theatre in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

“Inspecting Carol” a show within a show

The story is well known. A greedy, desolate man learns to share the joys of Christmas with friends and family after receiving guidance from three ghosts — of Christmas past, present and yet to come.

All the heartwarming feels of Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol,” draw audiences to theaters each year throughout the country to relive the tale.

Well, this isn’t that story. Triumvirate North Theater’s upcoming holiday season production tells the story behind the story.

Triumvirate North is showcasing a different type of holiday feature with this year’s production of “Inspecting Carol,” which opens Friday at 7 p.m. and runs for two weekends, including Saturday night and continuing into Dec. 21 and 22, with all show times at 7 p.m.

The show, directed by Kate Schwarzer, features a sizable cast of a dozen local actors and actresses with a wide variety of experience and styles.

Schwarzer, directing her third production with Triumvirate North, said the comedy provides a look behind the scenes of a struggling play company down on their luck and trying to push through rehearsal and production of the Dickens story as funding runs out and a mystery woman complicates matters.

“It’s a show within a show,” Schwarzer explained.

The title originates from the storyline that introduces a young actress, played by Nikki Stein, who stumbles onto a chaotic set that is losing funding to support its productions. The young lady is mistaken by the regular stage crew as an “inspector” actress, only there to evaluate the production.

“It’s a case of mistaken identity,” Schwarzer said. “The actress comes and they think she’s the inspector, there to watch it.”

The show’s leading roles include those of Chris Pepper, Donna Shirnberg and Hannah Tauriainen. Pepper takes on the role of the actor that plays Ebenezer Scrooge, but his character’s demands to change up the script throw another wrench into the mix.

Tauriainen is a veteran of Triumvirate North since the beginning, with about “20 to 30 shows” under her belt. Tauriainen takes on the role of “M.J.” — a stressed out stage manager who spends nearly every minute of her stage presence attempting to keep rehearsal moving, or in some cases started, as outside events take over.

Tauriainen said after several years of more serious but heartwarming Christmas productions, it was about time to put on a Christmas comedy show that deviated from the standard.

“Be ready to laugh,” Tauriainen said.

The original script was written and released in 1992 by Daniel Sullivan, a playwright who saw his work come to life with help from the Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Schwarzer said longtime Triumvirate owner Carla Jenness brought the play to her attention several months ago as a possibility for the company’s holiday feature. After taking a look through it, Schwarzer decided it was the one.

“It’s something different. It’s not the typical Christmas play, the happy-go-lucky musical,” Schwarzer said. “You feel good about it, but at least something always goes wrong (for the show’s play company).”

Donna Shirnberg brings to life the Zorah Bloch character, a frenzied Lithuanian director who doesn’t take the bad news of the company losing all its funding well. Shirnberg, who has extensive acting experience with the Kenai Performers but is in her first show with the Triumvirate Theatre, said the show features a wide variety of personalities that make for a hilarious explosion of conflicting interactions.

“It’s an overblown view of what theater is,” Shirnberg said. “It’s eclectic. It has unique characters. It’s super over the top.”

Scharzer said most of the “Inspecting Carol” cast has only been rehearsing since Thanksgiving after previous commitments with other plays and productions took up most of their time.

“Inspecting Carol” opens Friday at 7 p.m. and runs for two weekends, including Saturday night and continues into Dec. 21 and 22, with all show times at 7 p.m.

Chris Pepper (right) leads an “Inspecting Carol” rehearsal Tuesday at the Triumvirate North Theatre in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Chris Pepper (right) leads an “Inspecting Carol” rehearsal Tuesday at the Triumvirate North Theatre in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee adjourns

The committee will deliver recommendations to school board in July

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out corroded insulation outside of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna . (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary awaits action on approved bond

Almost two years after public OKs bond, borough asking for more time

Soldotna Police Chief Dale “Gene” Meek stands in his office on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna police chief resigns

The resignation was effective immediately on Friday, City Manager Janette Bower confirmed Monday

A sign along a trail to Exit Glacier marks the spot to where the toe of the glacier reached in 2010, photographed on June 22, 2018. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Exit Glacier reopened for summer, snow and bears reported

Visitors should check the park website for updated conditions and ensure they are prepared before visiting the area

Dale Chorman stands with his wife, Dianne. (Photo provided by Tom Kizzia)
Long-time Homer resident, photographer dead after Sunday moose encounter

Troopers on Monday identified the victim as 70-year-old Dale Chorman

A sign warning of a June 28, 2021, bear attack is placed at the head of the Kenai River Trail on Skilak Loop Road in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Federal wildlife officers seek information about early-May black bear poaching

Officials think the poaching happened near the east entrance of Skilak Loop roughly 2 miles from Jims’ Landing

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Ninilchik woman dead after Tuesday collision

The woman was attempting to cross the Sterling Highway from Oil Well Road when she was struck by a pickup truck

Graduates listen to Connections Homeschool Principal Doug Hayman speak during the school’s commencement ceremony on Thursday in Soldotna. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Graduates listen to Connections Homeschool Principal Doug Hayman speak during the school’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Expect a lot from yourself and from others’

Connections Homeschool students accept diplomas at commencement ceremony

Most Read