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Fronteras: Charles Dickens And The Texas Borderland Meet In ‘A Christmas Carol En La Frontera’

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“A Christmas Carol en la Frontera” is presented by the UTEP Department of Theatre & Dance and El Paso’s public radio member station, KTEP.
“A Christmas Carol en la Frontera” is presented by the UTEP Department of Theatre & Dance and El Paso’s public radio member station, KTEP.

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has been adapted for the stage and the screen countless times, including a rendition out of the Texas border city of El Paso.

“A Christmas Carol en la Frontera” first debuted in 2018 by the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Texas at El Paso.

“I love the story of a Christmas Carol but so much of it has nothing to do with how I experience Navidad,” explained Adriana Dominguez, assistant professor and director of Theatre Programs at UTEP’s Department of Theatre & Dance.

Dominguez and Jay Stratton, assistant professor of performance, co-adapted Dickens’ original 1843 production and framed the story through a borderland lens.

Greg Thompson, lecturer in the UTEP theatre department, directed the project. He said Dominguez and Stratton took into account the English, Spanish and Spanglish spoken freely on the border and in the American Southwest and intertwined it with Dickens’ famous lines.

“There is a sort of social-political statement at the center of the talks about, truthfully, how we treat each other, how we see each other, how we connect or how we don't. And I love that,” said Thompson. “Because I see sometimes people adapt the piece and you start to lose that piece of it. And... I feel like Jay and Adriana got that really right."

The pandemic brought another twist to this year’s performance, taking it from the stage to a one-hour radio play. This year’s production of “A Christmas Carol en la Frontera” is presented by the UTEP Department of Theatre & Dance and El Paso’s public radio member station, KTEP. The radio play will broadcast Dec. 25 at 9 p.m. (CT) on ktep.org.

Find out more about “A Christmas Carol en la Frontera” here.

Click here to listen to the production.

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren