Living in Charlottesville, Va., I sometimes have felt far away from the world's cultural centers. And then I discovered the Blackfriars Playhouse
in Staunton, Va. Top-quality repertory in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley? Believe it. Performing in the world's only re-creation of Shakespeare's original theater, the troupe has a stupendous production of Dickens's A Christmas Carol
this year. The most jaded onlooker will get shivers watching Marley's ghost haul around, completely in pantomime, the heavy chain he forged in life.