A Christmas Carol by Archmere Academy in Claymont, DE
November 16, 2016
Review submitted by Abigayle Harnum of Bordentown Regional High School
The performers of Archmere Academy have plenty of Christmas spirit to spare with their production of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
This heartwarming play tells the tale of an irritable old man who is unable to love and appreciate the people around him. Throughout the story, he is haunted by a series of ghosts who finally teach him that he must use the life he has been given to bring happiness to others with the time he has left on Earth.
This adaptation of A Christmas Carol featured an element that made the performance new and fresh, while being inclusive to the hearing impaired. The cast members playing characters with Christmas spirit used sign language while also speaking their lines. As Ebenezer Scrooge developed an understanding of the meaning of Christmas, he began to sign his lines and eventually became fluent as the show progressed.
Ebenezer Scrooge (Matthew Etzrodt) is a wealthy, elderly man who shuts out any one around him with the ever-popular phrase, “bah humbug”. With a simple arched back or an ill-tempered grunt, Etzrodt embodied the character’s age and complexity while portraying a maturity beyond his years. Another cast member, Caroline Quinn as the Ghost of Christmas Present, used humor and a fierce attitude to depict her character’s confident, sassy composure. Last but not least, Gia Mariano, Jackie Kraft and Arianna Abbrescia as the Ghosts of Christmas Past embraced the creepy and chilling aspects of their characters.
Cast members also used vocals and dancing to keep the audience engaged. Bella Abbrescia as Poor Child (Caroler) used her beautiful voice to sing various classic holiday carols, which wonderfully juxtaposed with the show’s eerie scenes. Archmere students Abby Kraus, Gia Mariano, Catherine Lawless, Annalise Mara, Grace Zhang, Arianna Abbrescia and Jackie Kraft used their dance skills to paint sinister pictures in their Ghost Dance choreographed by Catherine Lawless.
The technical aspect of this show went off without a hitch. Actors were heard very easily with the use of body microphones and students who played ghosts used microphones that echoed allowing them to seem inhuman, thanks to Helen Laster’s work. Makeup by Kyla McAvinue brought the characters, particularly Ebenezer and Jacob Marley, to life. Set changes were also very smooth and without error.
Archmere Academy’s production of A Christmas Carol was a great depiction of learning the true meaning of Christmas and it certainly gave the audience holiday cheer.
Review submitted by Caitlin Harvey of Delaware County Christian School
With ominous spirits and joyful carolers Archmere Academy dazzled the audience in their wonderful rendition of A Christmas Carol. They taught us to understand Christmas cheer, using symbolism in a physical way; Archmere Academy used sign language to show Christmas spirit and taught not only Scrooge, but the audience as well, words like family, friends, love, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion.
Matthew Etzrodt (Ebenezer Scrooge) tricked the audience into thinking an eighty year old man was on stage. Using an old man’s gait and a crotchety voice, Etzrodt convinced the audience he was in fact Ebenezer Scrooge, and left the audience in fits of laughter when he showed how grumpy and rude he really was. The three Ghosts of Christmas past, played by Gia Mariano, Jackie Kraft, and Arianna Abbrescia, performed excellently.
Caroline Quinn brought a modern, yet girlish character to the Ghost of Christmas Present, mocking Scrooge and keeping the audience entertained. Keelin Reilly (Scrooge’s nephew Fred) brought Christmas spirit to the show in his jokes and good cheer. At one point, Alex Weir’s mic fell off, a common mistake in shows, but he projected well and kept going.
Kyla McAvinue brought the play alive with her incredible skill in makeup. Jacob Marley stunned the audience with his vivid face, the Ghosts of Christmas Past dazzled the audience with their sparkled faces and the Ghost Dancers brought a dark and dreary feeling to the future with their darkened eyes and whitened faces.
Catherine Lawless also sparked the play with her amazingly choreographed Ghost Dance. Hats off to Kyla McAvinue and Alex Weir for choreographing a stunning Fezziwig party, and Weir even playing the violin amidst the dance. One can’t have Christmas cheer without carols, and Bella Abbrescia and the Carolers stunned the audience with their angelic voices and Christmas Spirit.
A giant round of applause to the Archmere students for retelling the classic tale of A Christmas Carol.