Maybe that familiarity is one of the reasons Grant Mudge can get away with turning the work into a drastically different sort of play, boiling the story down to an hour's worth of staging, with only two actors taking on all the roles. Mudge says relying on the original work, Dickens' book, carries the show. Judging from the past two years, Mudge says, audience members are "so thrilled to hear some of the story's text that they don't hear in big-budget performances and movies ... like the incredibly rich language. It's like returning to an old friend." Though Encore! will be performing the show throughout Virginia starting this week [call (888) 372-6288], you can see it when it stops at the Science Museum's Eureka! Theatre Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22. $5. 864-1400. wayne
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