The Beacon of H.O.P.E.'s Pine Island Playhouse presented Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" Friday, Dec. 20, and Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Fishers of Men Lutheran Church.
Friday and Saturday evenings brought out more than 250 Pine Islanders (and a number of people from surrounding communities) to enjoy the performances. This is the second play from the Pine Island Playhouse.
As predicted in the review of "Little Women" last October, "Pine Islanders have much to look forward to in future productions," this play was an excellent adaptation of the Dickens' classic. Artistic Director Nichole Pichon wrote the adaptation sticking very closely to the Dickens tale, however this play included a much larger cast and production team.
The cast performs a scene from the Beacon of H.O.P.E.’s Pine Island Playhouse production of ‘A Christmas Carol.”
The complexity of putting together a play with 15 cast members playing 30 different parts in five locations is no easy task.
"When I wrote the adaptation of this show I was surprised by the ease with which it happened," Pichon said. "This cast and crew did a remarkable job pulling all of this together. I think those cast members that were in 'Little Women' learned a lot about what it takes to put a play together - everyone did a spectacular job."
The story, written by Dickens 170 years ago this Christmas, opened with Scrooge (played by Patrick Shepherd) in his office with Bob Cratchit (Brian Sussman) on Christmas Eve. Scrooge's nephew Bob Cratchit stops in to invite Scrooge to Christmas dinner. Scrooge considers Christmas "humbug" and calls it "a poor excuse for picking a mans pocket every 25th of December."
That night Scrooge is visited by Jacob Marley's ghost (Jim Schiavone). Marley, Scrooge's business partner who died seven years before, is forever cursed to walk the earth dragging the chains he forged in life. The chains symbolize Marley's greed and selfishness in life. Marley warns Scrooge that unless he changes his ways he will suffer the same fate.
That night Scrooge is visited by three ghosts: the Ghost of Christmas Past (Rebecca Carden), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Domonic Kupersmith) and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Ronald Arceneaux). The three ghosts revisit Scrooges boyhood, his present (where he overhears his nephew speak about how pitiful Scrooge's life is) and the future and eventual death of Tiny Tim (Caitlyn Turner) unless events change. Scrooge also witnesses events that occur after his own death where his laundress and undertaker steal his bedroom fixtures.
When Scrooge awakens Christmas morning he is a different man. With his heart filled with joy and love, he sends a prize turkey to the Cratchit home for Christmas dinner and even gives Cratchit a raise. Scrooge now treats everyone with kindness and generosity and embodies the Spirit of Christmas. The play closes with the narrator repeating Tiny Tim's famous words: "God Bless us, Everyone!"
Once again, the budget was small but the energy, commitment and passion of the cast and crew brought the spirit of Christmas to life. Given the complexity of this play, this was a first class production Pine Islanders can be proud of. Pichon is an accomplished artistic director that seems able to accomplish a lot with very little resources.
As with all Pine Island Playhouse productions the show was free to the public with donations being accepted after the show.
"We did very well with donations," Pichon said. "The people of Pine Island are very generous."
Pichon is already planning for the next production of Pine Island Playhouse.
"It will be an adaptation of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,'" Pichon said.
Auditions will begin at the Beacon of H.O.P.E. Jan. 6 and 7, between 7 and 8 p.m.