“A Christmas Carol” is singing its way to the Middletown High School theatre

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Photo by wikicommons

The grave Scrooge sees in the play A Christmas Carol.

By Tori Faron, Round Table copy editor

Every four years Middletown High School shows Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” With the amount of work that goes into the play, from the physical labor of the tech crew to the concentration and determination of the actors, the program definitely earns the crowd they receive.

The production is directed by Susan Thornton. Assistant directors include Maria Duva and Desiree Denton. Max Lamb leads the cast as Ebenezer Scrooge, with Holly Scott and Emily Etheridge as the Ghost of Christmas Past and the Ghost of Christmas Present respectively. As of now, the actors set to play the Ghost of Christmas Future have not yet been determined.  

Duva says producing “A Christmas Carol” every four years is a tradition that was started by director Susan Thornton several years ago. Duva states that this play is a “classic show” and that it’s great for students to be able to experience.

Denton agrees; she considers the show a “rite of passage” for students. It is a popular holiday feature, as Denton knows of four other professional theatres that will also be doing the show in December.

Duva believes part of Middletown’s attraction to “A Christmas Carol” is “the fact that it is such a classic.” She says, “There’s a lot of holiday charm to it and it’s a good message…it’s one that holds true year after year.”

Denton believes people are so affected by the show because it asks a specific question, “Are there people in the world who are beyond hope or too lost to be saved?” Watching Scrooge make his transition inspires audiences to find the good in others. .

The directors hope to attract a large audience this year. To accomplish this, Duva says they are working on creating posters to place throughout the community and Denton says the show will “sell itself.”

Both she and Denton hope to gain most of their audience from the families of participating students, especially that of middle and elementary school children. Denton considers “A Christmas Carol” a “cash show,” meaning that a large turnout is almost always guaranteed.

MHS sophomore Evan Ruderman, who plays Jacob Marley’s Ghost, has done several plays and musicals in the past; he finds that each one is an enjoyable experience. He loves working with the cast and feels that the directors are really great and is excited to see what they will do with the show.

Ruderman’s favorite scene is one that features him, when Jacob Marley’s Ghost “appears to Scrooge in his bedroom.” Ruderman feels that this really sets the show’s mood and introduces the plot.

Tommy James is an MHS senior and stage manager, he looks forward to working on “A Christmas Carol.” He plays a large part in tech crew, the group of students who piece together the sets and organize the play’s props. James said the set shouldn’t be entirely difficult to build – the real challenge will be “finding the right props and fitting the aesthetic of the show.”

James’ favorite scene is at the end of the play, “after Scrooge gets visited by the three ghosts and comes to see that Christmas really is good.” He loves watching Scrooge’s transformation from a grouchy old man to a humble one. James describes the play as heartwarming, and really looks forward to seeing it all come together.

From the efforts of the directors to the hard work and training put in by the cast and crew, producing any play is a tricky thing. Directing the same play time and time again is an even harder feat. Each showing must be unique, personalized for the crowd, in order to have them return.

Four years ago, the drama program was able to host a good-sized audience during their production of “A Christmas Carol.” Almost each chair was filled on opening night and the crowd was quick to laugh, cry and commiserate with the characters. There were a few members of the audience who returned the following night to experience the show a second time.

There are high expectations for this production of “A Christmas Carol,” but members of the drama department are sure they will be met. Armed with a promising cast, a talented crew and experienced directors, the department is ready to take on the challenge of surpassing the last production.