Shaler Area High School opens the curtains on the play “A Christmas Carol” November 12-14. The entire cast takes the stage on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 7 p.m. with performances on the 13th and 14th at 7 p.m. also. There will be another performance at 2pm on the November 14th. Tickets are on sale for $7 for adults and $5 for students, children, and senior citizens.
With a more well-known play, the hope is that more people, especially families, will be interested in coming to see it. People, including the cast, are more excited for a play that is familiar to them.
“Ticket sales go up when the play is well known. There are usually bigger crowds, which is nice because it helps fund future productions,” Mr. Scott Krenn, stage crew director said.
Despite the advantages that come with doing a well known play, there are some downfalls. Mostly everyone has read or seen a version of “A Christmas Carol” and has already formed opinions about this play.
“People have preconceived notions of the play because they may have seen it and they think this is the only way it has to be,” co-director Mrs. Anne Loudon said.
Ms. Kristen Susany, co-director, wants to stay true to the text with their own personal touch. She is excited to show everyone the cast’s take on the play.
“We want to make it unique, and stand out. Finding that balance is always hard,” Susany said.
The play has an optimistic ending, but it includes dark moments that reveal the true meaning of the play. The hope for “A Christmas Carol” is that it will spread the spirit of the holidays to everyone.
“You can call it the kick off to the holiday season. We want everyone to go on an emotional roller coaster with us while they are watching Scrooge’s journey,” Susany said.
Susany and Loudon held auditions back in May, and the cast learned their lines over the summer. The cast came together for rehearsals starting on September 1st.
Junior Dan Bittner was cast as the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge. For Bittner, Scrooge is a very interesting character for him to play since there is one big difference between himself and Scrooge.
“It is hard to play an old man when you are a kid. I am used to playing a comedic teenage young adult male. Now I’m an old grumpy male,” Bittner said.
In spite of the age difference, he feels connected to Scrooge. He has created his own version of Scrooge, but Bittner still followed the basics of the story and character. The chemistry between the actors is also a contributing factor to each character appears on stage.
“I like how well casted the show is. I love the chemistry everyone has because we are all friends,” Bittner said.
Among the cast is senior Natalee Junker, who is playing the Ghost of Christmas Past. The Ghost of Christmas Past is an interesting character to portray. When she is on stage, everyone except Scrooge has to pretend to not be able to see her. The Ghost of Christmas Past doesn’t have much of a background, which allows her take her own view of what has happened to her character. It gives her the freedom to put her own style on the character.
Loudon is excited to see a couple of seniors, who have been given their first big role take the stage. Susany is looking forward to all the special effects that stage crew has been putting hard work into during their tech week.
Stage crew has been hard at work constructing the set every weekend for the past six weeks.
“There is a giant modular set-piece that stays on the stage the entire show. It is made of three mobile parts, two angles staircase, and a central “bridge-like” connection,” Krenn said.
The set conformation appears as either a more intimate or grand setting during the play. Props give life to the scene while the set modular set remains present throughout the play.
Stage crew is run by the stage managers seniors Zach Paris, Ryan Pontzloff, Brandon Palucka, and Chris Thens. On the stage, they mark where the set pieces go and teach the rest of the backstage crew. Other members, such as junior Sarah Hefferin, sophomores Claire Raines and Sophia Kachur, are in charge of microphones and sound. They mark the scripts and put microphones on the actors before they take the stage. Others run the Lightboard, program all of the lighting cues, run the spotlights, and train all the new members.
The set designer, Mrs. Jeanne Marshall, has been building and planning the set for much longer than it took to actually build the set. Marshall based the set on the tone and feel of the play. The set reflects the era and the focus of the play. In her opinion, the set supports and enhances the story and action. While creating the set, she didn’t consider other people’s opinions of the play when she designed the set.
“For “A Christmas Carol”, we decided to make the action the focus, with a highlight on the costumes. And given the ethereal nature of the ghosts taking Scrooge to other times, I wanted the set to be minimalistic in appearance while representing different times and periods,” Marshall said.
When the directors, the actors, and the stage crew come together, the play becomes complete. All their hard work comes together to form the production.
“I like it because that is where all my friends are, and it’s a group of people that you can be yourself with. It’s just a fun place to be and everyone makes it a good atmosphere,” Junker said.