taking on 'A Christmas Carol'
By Cindy Votruba
Photos by Cindy Votruba
Luke Schroeder, left, portrays Ebeneezer Scrooge, and Thomas McCoy plays Bob Crachit in Marshall High School’s upcoming production of “A Christmas Carol.”
MARSHALL - When Marshall High School English teacher Dan Smith was looking for a show to direct, he turned to one that was a classic - for people of all ages.
"It's a story we know and love so well," Smith said. "It celebrates the songs and stories that we all know."
The Marshall High School is performing "A Christmas Carol" at 7:30 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, in the Schwan Community Center for the Performing Arts at Marshall High School.
Smith said the show he and the students are doing is an adaptation written by Dr. Paul Hustoles, a professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, about a decade ago.
"What he did, he stayed as true to the Victorian language," Smith said. "The whole play was verbatim from the book (by Charles Dickens)."
The students don't indicate what roles they wanted when they audition. Luke Schroeder said he didn't go into tryouts with the intention of being cast as Scrooge.
"(But) obviously it's something I wanted," he said.
And he was excited when he got the role.
"I knew it was gonna be a lot of work, but I knew it was gonna be a blast," Schroeder said.
Thomas McCoy was pleased when he received the role of Bob Crachit.
"I was really happy with it, it's a really fun character to do," McCoy said. "It's nice to be able to do the different changes in my personality (as Crachit) - from a fun family man to timid worker with Scrooge."
Going into the rehearsals, the students said they knew they were in for a challenge. McCoy's character has several children, and some are being portrayed by younger kids.
"It's really fun working with the kids," McCoy said. "They're all really good."
McCoy said he's happy to be a mentor of sorts for the younger actors, to get them to enjoy being onstage.
"It's nice to nurture it for them," McCoy said. "Personally, I think theater is a fun thing to do." And, McCoy said, he hopes the younger children will also take an interest in continuing to do productions.
Schroeder said he tried several different ways to approach his character.
"Do a line differently, stance, poseuntil I found what I felt was the best, what works," Schroeder said.
The last time Ariel Smith, who plays one of the narrators, had a major role was when she was in the third grade and played Scout in Southwest Minnesota State University's "To Kill A Mockingbird." She said she's prepared for the show.
"I've seen the Mankato video many times," she said, adding that the rest of the MHS cast has adapted to the perspective Hustoles wanted to convey.
Dan Smith said one of the greatest things about the adaptation the MHS students are performing is the way the carols are included in the play, that they are incredibly thoughtful. The carols that are in the show are ones that were popular during Dickens' time.
"Each carol complements the story and the timing of the story complements the carols," Dan Smith said.
Dan Smith and his actors said that in selecting "A Christmas Carol" helps bring on the Christmas spirit.
"I've never been a major Christmas person," Ariel Smith said. But being part of the show has brought out her "Christmas" side, she said.
"I feel it was a good choice on Mr. Smith's part (in choosing the play)," McCoy said. "It connects and almost has a personal feel to it for the audience."
"The show is a great way for people to kick off their holiday celebration," Dan Smith said.