This December, SFU opened its doors for the 6th annual performance of Bah! Humbug!, a Woodward’s seasonal tradition. Bah! Humbug! is co-presented by SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs and Vancouver Moving Theatre in partnership with Full Circle: First Nations Performance, with support from SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement.
An adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Bah! Humbug! revives the classic holiday tale about giving, sincerity, redemption and forgiveness, set in modern-day Vancouver. Bah! Humbug! was performed in the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre from December 10 to 19, with multiple evening and matinee showtimes.
The performance was sponsored by Nester’s Food Floor at Woodward’s, the Hastings Hattery, and The Georgia Straight.
Before the show began, the audience was already engaged—singing Christmas carols with one of the actors and taking part in a raffle draw for a free turkey. As the lights went down, the audience followed the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge, a sushi-loving owner of a pawn shop on Vancouver’s Hastings Street, as he went from a cold-hearted, greedy man to a kind soul who was able to open up and share in the Christmas spirit.
Bah! Humbug! introduced a cast of professional and DTES community actors and singers, including Juno award-winning musician Jim Byrnes (Ebenezer Scrooge), Margo Kane, 2015 Vancouver Mayor’s Art Award Winner for Theatre (narrator), actor Jonathan Holmes (Marley) and gospel and blues singer/actor Bill Croft (Bob Cratchit). The entire performance was a winning combination of stunning background art, witty remarks about modern society, politics, and current events, and various musical numbers, from classic Christmas and gospel to folk and indie-rock songs.
The audience was reminded throughout the play of the struggles faced in the Downtown East Side and some of the ways to address them. This year, all of the proceeds from ticket sales were donated to the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival.
Bah! Humbug! reiterated that despite changes in society there are certain values that remain relevant. The show beautifully illustrated that whether it is in 19th century London or Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 2015, the values of gratitude, generosity, honesty and kindness resonate universally.