Campus play offers PNW take on classic story


This fall’s student play, “A Christmas Carol,” was the first live production by the PNW Theatre Company in two years.

After growing up watching many versions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” on television every holiday season, PNW students decided to do their own take.

“A Christmas Carol” was the PNW Theatre Company play this year.

“The students chose it, overwhelmingly,” said Theatre Company advisor Debra Dado, who is also a Communication professor. “They all responded to the material and really took up the challenge of speaking the words of Charles Dickens, which is not easy to do.”

The play was adapted from Dickens’ popular 1843 novella. Dozens of television and film adaptions have become a Christmas season tradition. Versions like the 1951 “A Christmas Carol,” starring Alistair Sim; the 1970 “Scrooge,” starring Alberti Finney; the 1988 “Scrooged,” starring Bill Murray, and many others routinely appear on television during the holiday season.

Sophomore English major James Rhoten played Ebenezer Scrooge. He said he enjoyed the experience.

 “[The play is] such a warm and safe environment where we can all just have fun with such a treasured and historic tale,” he said.

It also was personally special for him.

“Scrooge means a lot to me because my late brother Randy wanted to see me play Scrooge before he unexpectedly passed [away],” Rhoten said. “He was watching a ‘Christmas Carol’ movie on that day and he told me he couldn’t wait to see me as Scrooge.”

Rhoten said the role offered great opportunities for an actor.

 “There is so much to the character,” he said. “He has so much trauma that you really need to explore and understand. There’s a crack in the armor at the beginning that shows the audience that he isn’t irredeemable. And that’s the fine line I have to ride, making him a terrible person but also not irredeemable, and having to make that change seem believable.”

The production also challenges people off the stage, as well.

“Directing the play has been a great learning experience for me,” said Dylan Root, a junior studying Broadcasting. “I’ve gotten to work with an amazing cast of people and really watched this show form from the ground up.”

Dado said Root brought natural skills to the role of director.

“He is patient, understanding and really keyed in to what the actors need,” she said. “He knows the script inside and out, and what he wants out of the production. The actors trust him, and that says a lot.

“It is great to see actors enjoying a good room, and Dylan is responsible for that,” Dado said.

The show, performed on Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 at Hammond’s Alumni Hall, also featured the music of Invisible Strings, PNW’s student string ensemble.

Autumn MacCartney, a senior Computer Graphic Technologies major and Invisible Strings president, said she enjoyed working on the production.

“The members of the Theater Company are really fun and goofy characters to work with,” she said. “I left every rehearsal with my cheeks hurting from how much smiling and laughing we did.”