The perfect "Christmas Present"

Dec. 3, 2006, midnight | By Will Bucher | 17 years, 2 months ago

Blair players' "A Christmas Carol" will give you something to sing about

It's 12 o'clock midnight and all is well. That is, except for poor Ebenezer Scrooge, the old miserly man whose past, present and future just won't leave him alone. But thanks to a wonderful performance by the Blair Players in this year's production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Ebenezer learns a lesson or two while joining the rest of the cast for perhaps the most delightful fall play director Kelly O'Connor has put on yet.

Beautifully performed and choreographed, the play makes this critic's job tough. Director and Assistant Director Kelly and John O'Connor (respectively) do a wonderful job of orchestrating and adapting the play, which brings both major and minor characters to light and really represents the true heart of a great play.

Early on, we are introduced to Scrooge's clerk, Bob Cratchit (sophomore Gerard Bradley), who does a superb job throughout the play of portraying the mindset of a down-on-his-luck yet truly kind-hearted man. Other highlights to look out for include the Ghost of Christmas Present (junior Claire Kalala), an "aw" inspiring Tiny Tim Cratchit (8-year-old Danny Fanord), and a humorous bit by the Undertaker's Man (senior Andrew Ogilvy). All have the common goal to let Mr. Scrooge see the goodness in Christmas, and, perhaps most importantly, in life.

Junior Malcolm Foley tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge in his role as "Grandfather" in "A Christmas Carol." Photo courtesy of Ellie d'Eustachio.

While Senior Scott Wittmann does a tremendous job portraying Scrooge, the play really shines when he interacts with the people around him. Whether he's barking at charity collectors or singing along with Christmas carolers, his dealings with other characters are exciting and well-played.

The play still would have been quite a sight without the amazing cast, due to the brilliant work by this year's stage crew. The play features only one set piece on stage, smartly twisted into a Rubik's cube-esque structure to provide seamless changes between scenes and falling into darkness only twice for scene changes.

The special effects throughout the play also add to its brilliance. Light fog accompanies the entrance of chained-down wandering ghosts and Jacob Marley's ghost (played by talented senior Jason Meer), bringing out their haunting nature. But this certainly is not the only effect awaiting viewers; Stage Manager Rebecca Graber and Lighting Designer Jeff Lautenberger keep the dazzling displays coming right up to the end of the play.

Costumes are also superbly done. A viewer can effortlessly get into the mindset of the time of old fashion suits of rich reds, greens and purples and similarly ostentatious bonnets. All three Spirits are also very well done - particularly the Spirit of Christmas Past (junior Brittany Allen) and Present, who have flashy costumes to reflect their characters' attitude toward Scrooge.

Perhaps the only misfire in play is the timing before and after intermission. While the play's sequence is predictable by virtue of the fact that Scrooge's tale is a well-known one, there is a real anticlimactic sense after the return to the seats. Still, it is well worth sticking around for the second part to see Wittmann and his slew of supporting actors continue to bring such talent and energy to the stage.

"A Christmas Carol" has two more showings, on Dec. 8 and 9. All shows start at 7:30 p.m. Price is $6 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens.

Will Bucher. Will Bucher graduated Montgomery Blair in 2008 and now attends Washington University in St. Louis. <!-- Will Bucher, or Rooster as he is known by a select few, enjoys all things fun. Some of his main interests include running, SGA, and partying. Will also enjoys … More »

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