"If I could work my will," says Ebenezer Scrooge in the classic tale A Christmas Carol, "every idiot who goes about with Merry Christmas on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart."
No wonder Scrooge was such a creep.
For Peter Rodriguez, a junior at Tri-Cities Prep high school, playing Scrooge for the private Catholic school's winter production, has been a test of his acting ability.
"He sounds like a real charmer, doesn't he?" Rodriguez said. "Bringing Scrooge to life on stage has been an exciting experience, but it's also proved to be quite the challenge; depicting a complete change of heart is no easy task."
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Tri-Cities Prep presents A Christmas Carol in the auditorium at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, opening Dec. 10. Curtain time is 7 p.m. Other performances are at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 and 3 p.m. Dec. 12.
If you've been living in the hinterlands of Antarctica and never heard of this haunting holiday story written by Charles Dickens, then listen up.
In a nutshell, Scrooge is a wealthy and greedy miser who hates everyone and over works his hired help Bob Cratchit, even making him work on Christmas Eve.
Cratchit is a kind man and doesn't complain even though he can barely put food on the table for his family because Scrooge pays him so little.
But fate has something in store for Scrooge after he goes to bed on Christmas Eve. That's when his former dead partner Jacob Marley comes to warn him that it's time for Scrooge to pay the piper.
Marley warns Scrooge the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future will be paying him a visit. Chris Powers, a sophomore, had his own challenges in his portrayal of Marley, but understood the moral of the story.
"Marley is difficult because he's ghoulish and scary, yet unlike the other ghosts he's human," Powers said. "I think Dickens is mostly trying to show people that it's bad to be jerks to each other."
Gaia Ceffalo, a junior, plays the maid for Fred, Scrooge's nephew. She figures A Christmas Carol has a moral that fits into any culture or society.
"Our production is unique in that it pulls out Dickens' story of redemption in the midst of conveying the bad conditions of the masses in 19th century London," Ceffalo said. "Especially the children."
Rodriguez agrees and adds, "We try really hard as a cast of young people to dig out the deep meaning that Dickens is trying to convey in this story."
The ghosts are played by Daniel Holzmeier and Annie Powers with 9-year-old Daniel Kruschke playing Bob Cratchit's son Tiny Tim.
Daniel Holzmeier described his character as the ghost of Christmas Present as gentle, yet stern and unbending.
"It's a great character to play," Holzmeier said. "I think Dickens paints a society where people are afraid to trust, afraid of being used and just looking out for themselves."
Annie Powers, a junior, saw her portrayal as the Ghost of Christmas Past, as an opportunity to shine artistically, as well as being part of an aspiring story.
"My character is really unique in that she's a spunky, stern British ghost who just doesn't put up with any nonsense from Scrooge," she said. "The story is just a really beautiful conversion story about hope."
The musical production is choreographed by Suzanne Burroughs, with music direction by Tara Swanson and drama direction by Nina Powers.
Tickets to the production are $10 for adults and $5 for students and are available at Adventures Underground in Richland and all Tri-City area Bookworm stores or at the door.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org