Scrooge Says Farewell This Week with Final CAROL Performances

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on December 16, 2011

It is a wonderful life.

I know it to be true, for I saw it last week at Rossview High, and it was wonderful, delightfully staged and simply produced. The word I’ve used to best describe the experience is that it was authentic. The sentiment was not saccharine, nor did anyone steal a scene or upstage a fellow actor.

Ensemble work is always my favorite. The production was under the tutelage and craftsmanship of LuEllyn Wilcox. I took more than a bit of parental pride in seeing so many of my current or former students bloom and grow: Hugh Poland, Reid Edington, Webb Booth, Eden Cohen, Andrew Hulse, Jaymin Burr, Anna Shackelford and J.C. Poland. It’s A Wonderful Life touched us all and pulled at a few heartstrings, mine included.

I have a fondness for this kind of high school theatre, which reaches above the easily-accepted ordinary and rises to a kind of professional perfection, unknown in my day. I remember, more often than not, the old idea of high school theatre being, at best, bland, mundane and ordinary. Now our instructors challenge young people with material equal to their skills and stretch their talents enough to warrant praise for efforts achieved and goals reached.

Charles Dickens had his 200th birthday last week and, like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, I pondered what life would have been like without him … no Cratchits, no Pip, no Oliver, no Sidney Carton. Thank God we had him, if only for a time. What he left behind for all of us is a coterie of characters whom we’ve all known the likes of in real life, in one form or another, Scrooge notwithstanding. How many people heard “Bah humbug” for the first time during this go-round on the Carol? I’ve said it 300 times in nearly 50 performances in this season alone. Redemption by Scrooge or by George Bailey is a reward worth watching and thank you all who let me say it and will let me play Scrooge a few more times.

We say farewell to A Christmas Carol with three more performances: tonight at 8pm and Saturday at 2pm and 8pm. It gets packed up like the decorations at Lord & Taylor — one year on the first floor, next year on the second, each year slowly moving up and finally out. For us here at the Roxy, it will be stored high in the balcony corner, only to reappear hopefully brighter and bigger next holiday, retouched, redone and rejuvenated to again warm hearts, change minds and, above all, introduce theatre and Mr. Dickens to a new audience.

Even now, waiting impatiently in the wings is Happily Ever After, the second installment of fairy tales in the same grand tradition of Once Upon A Time, where the audience picks the plays from a list which includes “Snow White,” “The Hare and The Hedgehog,” “The Elves and The Shoemaker” and “Hansel and Gretel,” among others.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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