There was a serious, disturbing, and slightly bloody tussle over who would write this critical review of the play “A Christmas Carol” presented by St. John’s Drama at Skyline High School in Front Royal on November 18th. It seems that Mr. Monte, our highly literate scholar of the fine arts, considered his ability to provide an objective and unbiased review of the play was far superior to yours truly. He based his claim on the trumped up, fallacious charge that I could not avoid favoritism due to the fact that my beautiful, charming, and amazingly talented Granddaughter No. 1 had a part in the play. Although I could understand why he made this baseless charge, his argument was shredded to pieces when I reminded him that he had not even seen the play. After that, he reluctantly allowed me the use of the keyboard. Meanwhile, he began to chew ferociously on the mouse out of frustration over losing an argument to Old Fuzz Face.
Introduction: Public school and parochial high school students usually have access to a stage with proper lighting and facilities. Qualified drama teachers or others with appropriate training are available to direct and coordinate production of a play or musical. For many home schooled children, however, these things are not readily available. That is why St. John’s Drama in Front Royal has worked mightily since 2008 to afford home schoolers and others in the area the opportunity to share in the theatrical experience. That is the answer for the big questions “how” and “why” did this production of “A Christmas Carol” come to be. (For more background about how this all came to be, click here.)
Plot Summary: “A Christmas Carol” is based on the 1843 novella by Charles Dickens as adapted by Jacqueline Goldfinger. All our readers should be familiar with the story line, but if you need a quick refresher click here.
Performance: Objectivity dictates that one must consider the situation as it is and not to compare it to something that it was never intended to be. This was not a professional quality production. It was the performance of amateurs. But to be just, it was a vibrant combined performance of a group of talented, enthusiastic, and dedicated amateurs. Surely, some lines were not well delivered and there were some missed cues. Yet, this member of the audience was both entertained and inspired. The intent of Dickens to increase compassion for and awareness of those around us was fulfilled.
It must be noted that in scenes such as the Fezziwig Party, the cast did an excellent job of intricately balancing four different actions simultaneously. There were dance, drama, acting to the side, and convincing period music, all performed without clashing or distracting.
Design Elements: Simplicity was the order of the day. The cast of actors carried the action using a simple set. There was never a doubt about where you were in any scene. The focus remained on the powerful narrative and message created by Dickens. Costumes, on the other hand, were elaborate and seemingly authentic. They visually assisted each performer to assume the manner of the individual characters.
Reaction: As you can see, I was pleased and entertained by what was accomplished by St. John’s Drama last Sunday >>>>///Bang – crashh!!! /// Oh, there’s a strange noise downstairs! I better go check on what’s happening///
Hi, to all of my fans. This Mr. Monte here. While Old Fuzz Face is checking out the distraction I caused downstairs, let me fill you in on the real story. His Granddaughter No. 1 played the part of the Ghost of Christmas Past. As you can see in the picture, she was stunning. And, from personal observation over almost four years, she has far more talent than you can imagine.
That young lady is a bona fide cat lover. She has two cute little females of her own and Blondie tells me that she treats them like queens. Whenever she comes over here to Serendipity Farmhouse, she calls for me and I come running. She has a certain charm about her. When I think of her, the term “cat whisperer” comes readily to mind.
Now, Old Fuzz Face has trouble being objective about sweet Granddaughter No. 1, but no one ever said I have that problem. Nope, she’s the smartest, most beautiful young lady in the world, at least as far as I’m concerned.