Charles Dickens is a master storyteller whose imagination has transcended generations, especially with the memorable tale A Christmas Carol, which opens Nov. 29 at Tri-Cities Prep Catholic High School in Pasco.
"We like to repeat A Christmas Carol because it's such a solid show with a well-written script and a great variation of characters who give the students the opportunity to try out some wonderful character acting," said director Nina Powers.
The poignant tale of human redemption in the midst of poverty and misery on the cold streets of London at Christmastime in the 1800s is a tale worth retelling, Powers added.
"It also makes good financial sense for a fledgling department like ours because we have acquired most of the costumes, props and set for this show," she said. "So it cuts the cost of great deal."
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Her cast includes senior Joseph Portch as Scrooge, senior Chris Yakewich as Jacob Marley, senior Briar Westerfield as Bob Cratchit and senior Rachel Davis as Mrs. Cratchit.
The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future are portrayed by junior Olivia Sauceda and senior Eric Powers. Other cast members include junior Daniel Zeppeda, Cheyenne Zilar and Connor Rodriguez.
Portch said portraying the ornery Scrooge was one of his most challenging.
"Theater is a way to express emotions that may be alien to you," Portch said.
Still, the constant changes in Scrooge's personality were tough to keep up with.
"The way he changes throughout the play has been a challenge," Portch said. "Through the story, his expression gradually becomes happier, his demeanor lighter and his tone becomes softer through his journeys with the spirits."
Freshman Sam DeTiene plays a young Scrooge and found the constant switching of emotions from angry to happy a struggle.
"My purpose in the play is to show why Scrooge has become such a bitter person," DeTiene said. "It is challenging to switch emotions in every scene. At first he's happy, then angry, then super depressed."
Westerfield, who's a sports jock when he isn't acting, said his role as Bob Cratchit taught him the value of being humble.
"To be Bob, you have to humble yourself, to find the best person inside of you and be that," Westerfield said. "That's Bob Cratchit."
The play also features Pakistani exchange student Umer Janjou playing a dual role, even though he's only been in the United States for three months.
"I've always wanted to act and be in a play," he said. "In my country, I attended theater shows, but they're mostly focused on the high studies of Pakistan. Acting in this play is actually like a fantasy come true for me."
As for the ghost of Christmas Present, Sauceda said it was somewhat conflicting.
"Finding who the ghost is for me was my biggest challenge because she is portrayed so many different ways," Sauceda said. "To me, she is playful, but having been sent for a serious purpose, she has a no-nonsense side to her personality, commanding and even threatening."
Regardless of how the students tackle their roles, the one constant in the production is the timeless story.
"Just as the Tri-Cities loves the Nutcracker, and many count it among their favorite holiday traditions, so too, we hope that TC Prep's A Christmas Carol will become another wonderful holiday tradition offered within the arts community," Powers said.
Curtain time for the holiday play is 7 p.m. Nov. 29-30 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 1 in the high school's cafeteria at 9612 St. Thomas Drive, Pasco. Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for students or $35 for families.