The students of Elkin High and Middle School will bring to life Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” this weekend with two performances, 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Dixon Auditorium. Tickets are $5 at the door.
Several years ago “A Christmas Carol” was performed by Elkin High students and Director Leighanne Martin Wright said it was time to bring it back.
“‘A Christmas Carol’ is a good play to do this time of year, as we are nearing the holiday season and all the kids that are in high school now were not in high school when we did it in 2011,” Martin Wright said. “Plus, it is a story everyone knows and classic literature, which is always good for students to read. I think this show is not only fun for the students, but is good because it builds upon what they are studying in class.”
As the characters, from Scrooge to the ghosts, are so ingrained in the Christmas-time culture, it is fun for the students to bring those classic Dickens characters to life, Martin Wright added.
This marks the 20th Elkin High School play that Martin Wright has directed, in addition to multiple shows she has directed for Foothills Theatre.
She said for this year’s production of “A Christmas Carol” she has taken a page from Thornton Wilder and staged the show very minimally with few set pieces and the actors pantomiming many of the actions.
“The scenes when Scrooge travels with the ghosts are so quick and there are several of them to help the play move along more quickly I decided it was better not to have massive things to move on and off,” Martin Wright explained. “The kids had to get use to the pantomiming — I told them they would all be ready to perform in ‘Our Town’ after this, but then again, several of them were in that as well when we performed it in 2013.”
Martin Wright said she has enjoyed working with students at the school for the many productions she has directed.
“I’ve loved having the students from previous plays on stage again, and meeting some new students. They are all great kids and will no doubt put on a great show,” she said.
An exciting addition to this performance is live music for one of the scenes.
“I am thrilled that we have a live fiddler (Russell McCumber) this year to play during the Fezziwig scene,” Martin Wright said.
Student Julie Neumark, who plays Belle in the play, said she is thrilled to be on stage again for this production.
“I’ve been in the cast/crew of ‘Our Town,’ ‘All Because of Agatha’ and ‘Murder By the Book.’ I was also in the eighth grade play, ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ I really enjoy these plays and what’s different about this one is that it is set in Victorian London, which we have never done before. This tale is not comedic like many of the plays in the past, but it’s probably the most well-known stories out of all the plays I’ve done in high school,” Neumark said.
The cast of the show includes: Austin Coley – Scrooge; Hardin Walker – Bob Cratchit; Ally Gentry – ghost of Jacob Marley and Belinda Cratchit; Anna Taylor – ghost of Christmas past; Madison Shoemaker – ghost of Christmas present; Jillian Lewis – missionary and Mrs. Fred; Palmer Duncan – Mrs. Fezziwig and Marie; Julie Neumark – Belle; Maddie Barron – girl at Fezziwig’s and Martha Cratchit; Asher McRitchie – Richard, Belle’s husband, Topper, Ghost of Christmas Yet to come; Afton Nelson – Mrs. Cratchit; Bronson Gwyn – missionary and girl at Fezziwig’s; Ashley Holsclaw – “Ignorance” and Woman on Street; Arianna Collins – Fan and Jane Cratchit; Harry DeCelle – Fezziwig and young lad; Henry Freeman – Charles and Peter Cratchit; Dylan Kupner; Dylan Miller; Harper Lee Libbert – “want” and woman on street -with Elijah Jeroslow as Tiny Tim. Assisting with with lights are Reid Turner and Lindsey Shinkle.
Martin Wright said audiences are sure to be pleased with the production and she believes the students can learn some valuable lessons from the show’s message as well.
“The essence of the play lies in the actual text taken from Charles Dickens’ book. But the actors have done a superb job of bringing their characters to life. I hope they take to heart the lessons he tries to convey through Scrooge’s encounters with the spirits,” Martin Wright said.
“A Christmas Carol” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday at Elkin High School’s Dixon Auditorium.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.