Westfield High School
With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays quickly approaching, Tuscarora’s production of A Christmas Carol is a reminder of the true values of Christmas; family, generosity, and joy. The show’s committed actors bring to life the beloved classic and it’s the magical message of Christmas.
A novella written by Charles Dickens in 1843, A Christmas Carol achieved immediate success. Consequently, the world-renowned novel was almost immediately adapted for the stage. Along with its many stage productions, this holiday classic has also graced the silver screen dozens of times.
Ebenezer Scrooge has lived his life as an ill-tempered miser. Valuing capital over family and love, Scrooge became a companionless and resentful man. After the death of his sole colleague, Jacob Marley, Scrooge became even more of an intolerable moneygrubber. After being warned of his impending demise, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts; Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. As each ghost confronts Scrooge with his transgressions he is cautioned to mend his ways.
Scrooge, played by Jordan Tate, emulated the sourness of Scrooge’s penny-pinching ways. With a crotchety physicality and grizzled vocalization, Tate was a truly unlikable character. As Tate progressed, and Scrooge repented, Tate’s physicality shifted to a more open stance, symbolizing his character growth. In Juxtaposition to Scrooge was Bob Cratchit. Played by James Foster, Cratchit’s somber yet virtuous demeanor generated empathy. Belle, played by Carrie Zurliene, floated across the stage, a graceful beauty. However, Zurliene soon flew into a screaming fury towards Young Ebenezer, portraying an arc of human emotion and vulnerability.
The Ghost of Christmas Past, played by Katie O’Sullivan, emulated a dainty youthfulness through her bright, and airy vocalizations. O’Sullivan’s sprite-like characterization was charming and reminiscent of a Christmas angel. In contrast, the Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Kendall Guntner, created a jolly and earthly presence that provided confident insight.
Christmas Carolers were added into the script, helping ease transitions and set changes with cheerful, holiday classics. As an ensemble, the carolers impressively kept together in time, a challenging feat when singing acapella. The production also utilized children actors, which can be quite demanding on both the actors and director. However, the director smoothly integrated the children in, adding a jovial excitement to the show.
The intricate technical aspects highlighted the actor’s performance. Jewel tone, ornate, hoopskirts created warm Christmas imagery. Although out of period, the large dresses mimicked Christmas tree ornaments, elegant and gleeful. From the fairy lights sewn into Christmas Past’s dress, to the beading on the Carolers skirts, each embellishment was meticulous and detailed. The Special effects of falling snow and fog added to the Christmas magic of the production. In addition, all the props, especially the food, were extremely realistic. The screened portrait of Jacob Marley stood out as a brilliant effect, enhanced by eerie purple and green lighting. The set created the essence of a charming, little town. Small shops that transitioned effortlessly into homes and offices added to the whimsical nature of the show.
“Bah Humbug” with weekend plans! The whole family will enjoy the holiday spirit of Tuscarora High School’s production of A Christmas Carol. For after all, “there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
Woodgrove High School
Ho ho ho it’s that time of year again, and guess what Santa brought this time: a stingy old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge. This Christmas classic has most definitely served well throughout its years, acting as a moral lesson, teaching children and adults alike about the importance of generosity and kindness. In Tuscarora’s production of A Christmas Carol, these values shine through.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is set in London in the mid 1800’s. The story follows that of an old miser by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge (Jordan Tate), who hates Christmas and each year hides himself away in his house alongside his piles of money. Because of his constant hatred of Christmas and general rudeness, he is visited by three spirits: The Ghost of Christmas Past (Katie O’Sullivan), Present (Kendall Guntner), and Future (Natalie Ah Nee). Each one takes him to another version of Christmas, along the way demonstrating the different values that are morally tied to the Christmas season. Ebenezer discovers a side of life that he had never experienced--that of joy and happiness, and he learns the ways of kindness and generosity.
Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Jordan Tate, is easily the most important and prominent character in the show. During the show, Tate displayed an immense amount of commitment to his character. He portrayed an old man very well, both physically and vocally, by hunching his back and speaking in a raspy voice. Not only was his portrayal excellent, but for the most part, consistent.
Of course, there wouldn’t be a show without its supporting cast. In Tuscarora’s A Christmas Carol, there was a diverse cast filled with actors ranging from the 12th grade, all the way down the 3rd grade. One of the most interesting parts of the show was the use of children, rather than short freshmen, to portray the younger characters. As well as children, there was also an ensemble of carolers, who were often used to keep the audience engaged during a long set change. The three Christmas spirits played an obviously key role in the show, being the ones to take Scrooge through the different versions of Christmas. While all three did an excellent job, the one that stood out the most was The Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Kendall Guntner. Throughout her scene, Guntner had excellent stage presence and brought a refreshing amount of energy to the show with her unique characterization.
Other than a few fuzzy microphones, the technical aspect of the show was overall well done. The show contained an impressive amount of large set pieces, which intuitively helped the flow scenes by spinning them while actors were still on them, flipping the scene from an interior space to an exterior space. These specific set changes were of course performed in the middle of scenes, and while they did help keep the scene moving, the crowd of techies moving the set was sometimes distracting.The lighting, especially in the Marley’s Ghost scene, was extremely well placed and helped tie together the mood of the scene.
Tuscarora put on an overall solid performance of a difficult show. Containing extremely intuitive set design, excellent lighting, and an engaging ensemble of carolers, a pair of A Christmas Carol tickets will be sure to find their way onto your Christmas list.