On Stage: Scrooge Is Back, And He’s 18!

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz 
Scrooge is back! He’s 18 years old and he’s made a fortune by inventing a violent video game.
Natomas Charter School Performing and Fine Arts Academy is giving new life to the well-loved A Christmas Carol this holiday season.

 The original tale, written by Charles Dickens, has been adapted for the Natomas stage by teacher Karen Pollard, who also directs the play.

Set in present-day New York City, this re-envisioned version A Christmas Carol tackles the economic and social struggles facing many Americans in today’s volatile economy. 
I wanted to tell the story, because I am amazed at Charles Dickens’ ability to tell a great ghost story,” Pollard said. “I have so much respect for how A Christmas Carol illustrates that being kind to one another is not just a momentary act … it is a choice and action that originates in our souls and our souls will either reap the benefits or suffer the consequences.”

 Pollard sought artistic input from students for the script.

“Our students are completely involved in creating the show,” Pollard said, “Because it’s so fresh and modern I needed my characters to speak like our students speak.”
Students, said Pollard, helped her create the dialogue through workshop sessions over several months. The all-student cast has been rehearsing for A Christmas Carol three to four hours a day since August.

“The creation of this play is truly an ensemble process, which I believe encompasses the meaning of Christmas,” she said.
The original A Christmas Carol pop and rock music score was composed by Rick Gott and Owen Meyers, also Natomas Charter School teachers.

The composers tout the score as having “a modern Broadway feel while keeping the spirit of the old Christmas classics.
Lyrics help tell the story of people struggling with money and the holidays. In the opening number “It’s Christmas Again,” cast members sing about how hard it is to get into the Christmas spirit.

It’s Christmas Again,
seems like we just got over the last one,
It’s Christmas Again,
just maxed out my last credit card. . .
Songs which help drive the characters’ emotions of the characters, are also meant to leave the audience in the mood to celebrate the holidays.

The cast for A Christmas Carol consists of Production class, Modern II dance class, the band, and students work as backstage crew members. Altogether there are more than 80 students working on the production.
Christian Wheeler, a junior, has been in many stage productions, but playing Ben Scrooge is his first major role at school. Wheeler said he found it difficult to get into Ben Scrooge’s character. 

Said Gott, “Christian is one of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet, but his work as Ben makes you cringe at how just plain mean he can be!”

This version of A Christmas Carol provides also includes the possibility of romance for Ben Scrooge with Bell, played by senior Mazzy McDaid, who has been acting at Natomas Charter School for four years.
Bell is the girl Scrooge loses to greed and anger. If Ben can become a better person, will Bell take him back?
A Christmas Carol runs two weekends, Dec. 1-3 and Dec. 8-10, at 7 p.m. in the Benvenuti Performing and Fine Arts Center, located at 4600 Blackrock Drive, in Natomas. 
Pre-sale tickets cost $10 for general admission, $8 for students or seniors and $15 for general admission, $13 for students or seniors at the door.
 Formore information or to buy tickets visitwww.benarts.orgor call (916)-491-1028.

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