Bengals on Stage present ‘Christmas Carol’ at The Farm

A previous performance of A Christmas Carol at The Farm. | Contributed

BLYTHEWOOD – Blythewood High School’s Bengals On Stage will bring back their Christmas tradition, A Christmas Carol, after the two-year Covid break.

A popular aspect of the production is that the performers sing carols prior to the show, and serve cookies and cocoa afterwards.

The play will be presented at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14 and Thursday, Dec. 15, at The Farm at Ridgeway.

The performance will be both unique and immersive with the stage in the middle of the facility and the audience sitting on either side of the “stage.”

“The actors are close to the audience making sound effects and changing in and out of costumes,” said Sandra Dietel, the theatre director.

“A Christmas Carol recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.” Dietel explained. “After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.

“For me,” Dietel said, “A Christmas Carol is a story that reminds us that it is never too late to make a choice to be kind and generous to others – especially those less fortunate than ourselves.”

Dietel said the Jaqueline Goldfinger adaptation that she uses remains true to the original story by incorporating portions of Dickens’ novella and infusing it with popular Christmas carols.

Sanders Pitts, who plays Scrooge, offered insight into her character.

“The main challenge in portraying Scrooge is to not become cartoonish,” Pitts said. “I found channeling the idea of Scrooge as unfeeling was immensely helpful in putting the character into my body.”

“A neat thing is that we have an actor in the current cast whose older sister was in the play, and a few of the current actors saw the show when they were students at Round Top Elementary and Kelly Mill Middle,” Dietel said. She doesn’t have any returning actors. 

“The last show we did in 2019, was an alumni show, and then we went on hiatus for two years due to the pandemic. So, anyone that was in it previously has long graduated.  Consequently, we have all new actors and techies in the show,” she said. “Luckily, we have a video recording from the 2015 show that we’ve been using as a reference – that, and my memory, of course. We will have a couple of ‘Christmas Carol’ alums coming to help set up for the show since it’s a bit of an operation to transform the space.”

Dietel has been teaching at Blythewood high school for 12 years.  The immersive Christmas play she directs at Blythewood High School is something she created from a personal theatre experience dating back to 2014.

“A friend would get some of his friends together to do an adaptation of the Christmas Carol in his barn. He would serve us cookies and cider and we watched while sitting on hay bales.”

She said it has become one of her favorite traditions, and she wanted to recreate it for her students.

“But we needed the right setting, so when the Sharpe family offered up The Farm for the theatre setting, that made it all possible.  Now the play at The Farm is a Blythewood High School tradition,” she said.

The setting will accommodate up to 130 people in the audience.

Tickets are currently on sale at bhstix.org  for $10. All the proceeds from ticket sales go right back into the drama department to fund other productions.

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