Pine-Richland brings 'A Christmas Carol' to the stage
Everyone knows the traditional telling of Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol,” but the Pine-Richland High School theater classes' fall production promises to have a few updates and turns on the classic tale. The performances will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 8, 9 and 10.
“This play is interesting because we selected a piece that's based on the Dickens play, so we do have some of the classic elements, but we have modern elements brought into it as well,” said faculty sponsor and English and theater teacher Michelle Bruno. “It's a story told in flashback mode, with a twist. The CLO does such a great job with the traditional version, so ours has classic, traditional and modern elements and definitely some humor. What's also exciting is this is the first year we've tried to incorporate some musical elements so we can give the students the best opportunity to grow.”
The students in Bruno's advanced acting and production course start the first day of class by brainstorming ideas for scripts. This semester, they chose one script, then ultimately decided to go back to the drawing board after looking at their budget and a number of other factors. The “Christmas Carol” script was approved the first week of September and they've been hard at work ever since.
The challenge with these productions versus, for instance, the spring musical, is that most of the work is done during the 40 minutes of class each day, Bruno said. The students won't rehearse after school until the week of the show.
“It's quite professional in pace and speed,” she said. “It's not a relaxed environment. They do all this work in the 40 minutes of class, and outside of class there's a lot of coordination and communication. It's project management, team collaboration, everything you need in the real world.”
There are 11 main advanced acting students who are not only lending their talents onstage but also serving as the production crew as well. Members of the introduction to acting class are playing smaller roles.
Junior Declan Allwein is playing the Ghost of Christmas Present as well as serving as assistant director and working on music and media. He said their version is much more modern than the regular version of “A Christmas Carol” that most people are used to.
“I've seen that version and fallen asleep every time, but this will keep you awake, and you'll fall even more in love with the characters,” he said. “Kids will love it, and so will adults. And the nice thing is we're doing it more than a month before Christmas, but it doesn't revolve around Christmas. It revolves around a miracle of someone changing and trying to convey that theme to the audience. With all the recent tragedies around the world, we thought it was a good time to do a show that shows that people can change.”
The class is also working with the Interact Club, the ROTC program and others to collect donations to be given to the Red Cross for hurricane victims and families affected by the shooting in Las Vegas.
Karen Price is a Tribune-Review contributor.