Review by Sarah Smith
Viva Loudoun High School Intern
Ashburn (Dec. 18, 2013) – The curtain opens on the face of the notorious Ebenezer Scrooge, a face that is completely bare of Christmas spirit and joy. The lights focus on his office and the elaborate town that rests just outside his window. The play starts when his nephew comes stumbling in through the door, filled with more love and kindness than his miserly uncle can handle.
“A Christmas Carol” was originally a novella written by Charles Dickens, published in 1843. It was published during the Victorian era during a period where people were eager for new Christmas customs and traditions; it was later transformed into a stage production and has become popular for high school theaters.
This nostalgia-evoking Christmas tale follows the transformation of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and his journey through the past, present, and future, guided by his deceased friend and other Christmas spirits.
Zack Wold showed a commendable commitment to developing his character, Ebenezer Scrooge. His acting was consistent and realistic; the way he walked, talked, and reacted to other actors was consistent, one of the strongest qualities that made him a good choice for the role of the infamous miser.
Alex Bertke, in his role of Bob Cratchit, was another strong actor. While some actors rushed through their lines and did not enunciate enough, Bertke always delivered his lines clearly while keeping up his accent. He effectively showed the compassion and kindness that Cratchit is known for, conveying his benevolence in his facial expressions and reactions while interacting with the members of his family and others. He succeeded at showing the relationships between his character and others.
A unique spin on this classic plot was the comedic take on the spirits. The spirits brought a surprising bit of comic relief to the serious plot. Matt Pompilio, Ryan Murphy, and Brandon Diaz added this humor through their delayed reactions to Scrooge and comic gestures.
The rich textures and jewel toned colors created a festive scene as ball gowns twirled in the party scenes. The costumes, under the authority of Christin Hensley and Christina Santana, helped reflect the difference between Scrooge, who only wore blacks and greys, and the party guests, who shone in a myriad of vibrant colors.
The final spirit arrived wearing all black, reflecting his somber character. The costumes not only added to the visual aspects of the show, but also to the symbolic.
Members of the running crew also did a superb job of staying hidden behind set pieces; they were never able to be seen throughout the show, and quickly completed transitions between scenes.
Although there was little dance in the show, the choreography by Caitlin Gilligan in the partnering scene at the end of the show reflected dance of that time period and was conducted gracefully.
Lighting was simple and some age lines could have been blended better, but the tech was overall effective and contributed to the feel of the show, setting the scene in a town preparing for Christmas Day and its related festivities.
The irrefutable energy and commitment of the students at Briar Woods High School created a memorable experience with their 2013 production of “A Christmas Carol.”
Sarah Smith is a junior as Stone Bridge High School