Susquehanna Stage is presenting a children’s production of “A Christmas Carol” beginning Dec. 6.
Everyone in the cast is under the age of 18, from Tiny Tim to Ebenezer Scrooge himself.
Can a cast of young kids understand Scrooge, Jacob Marley and poor Tom Cratchit?
You bet they can.
We asked the cast for insight into the story and what it means in this holiday season.
Brennen Eshleman, who is in 12th grade at Mount Calvary Christian School, is playing Jacob Marley. He cuts right to the point of the story.
“Scrooge was a miserable old man, being rude to everyone he met. Furthermore, he was more concerned about business and finance rather than humanity and love. Jacob recognized this and knew that he had to change his old business partner’s life, so that Scrooge wouldn’t have to spend eternity in chains like Jacob. So he sends the spirits of Christmas to save Scrooge from the same cruel fate.”
Scrooge’s employee, Tom Cratchit, knows all about Scrooge.
“Bob is only looking for a little bit of Christmas spirit from his boss,” says Zac Snyder, 14, of Lancaster Catholic High School. “Bob shows that he is very scared to say something about his unfair working condition to Mr. Scrooge.”
Mrs. Cratchit has her own feelings about her husband’s employer.
“I think she is the type of person that loves her family more than anything else,” says Julia Bono,who is playing Mrs. Cratchit. “She feels that Tiny Tim (their invalid son) may be more healthy if it weren’t for Scrooge’s poor treatment of her husband.”
A good attitude runs in the Cratchit family.
Teddy Best, a first grader at East Petersburg Elementary, is playing Tiny Tim.
“He is very sick, but he loves and cares about everyone,” he says.
Before he goes to sleep for his Christmas Eve adventure, Scrooge doesn’t care about the Cratchits at all. Nor does he care about his nephew, Fred.
“Fred is a happy man, he looks for the good in everyone,” says Liam Nornhold, who is in sixth grade at Donegal Intermediate School. “Fred loves his uncle, even though Scrooge doesn’t care about him. He always knew there was some good in Scrooge.”
The first ghost to visit Scrooge that night is the Ghost of Christmas Past, played by Emma Whtman, who is in third grade at Donegal Intermediate School.
“It is important for Scrooge to know his past so he knows that in the past he had a good life and was a good man but now he is selfish.”
We meet Scrooge’s employers, Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig, who love celebrating Christmas.
“They throw the best Christmas parties because they believe that spending time with family and friends is very important,” says Alexa Knapp, an eighth grader at Palmyra Middle School, who is playing Mrs. Fezziwig,
“She surrounds herself with positivity and enjoys making people happy.”
There is some pain in Scrooge’s visit to the past. He sees Isabelle, the woman he thought he would marry. But she broke up with him.
Grayson Marz, a sixth grader at Bear Creek Elementary who is playing Isabelle, believes Scrooge could never love her because he couldn’t love himself.
“She knew he would never put their love first. His focus on accumulating wealth would always take priority.”
As the night moves on, the Ghost of Christmas Present visits. The ghost is played by Anastasia Hess, a fifth grader at Infinity Charter School.
“If I wasn’t there, Scrooge wouldn’t know how much the Cratchits are struggling. He also wouldn’t know how often people thought of him as a worthless, rude old man.”
He is at a turning point with his visit.
“She teaches Scrooge who he is and that he can change," Anastasia says. "She also teaches him that helping people who are struggling is the right thing to do, especially when those people care about you."
A darker vision is coming to Scrooge: The Ghost of Christmas Future.
"This ghost is the one who shows Scrooge all the bad things that can happen to him if he does not change," says Teresa Moore, who play the Ghost of Christmas Future.
“(The most frightening moment in the show) is when the ghost shows his name upon a gravestone as a symbol that nobody cared for him after he died."
That last ghost does the trick. Scrooge wakes up Christmas morning a new man.
“Scrooge not only learns that Christmas is a special time of the year to be treasured, but also to to be kind and generous to those around you,” says Audrey Shultz who is in the ensemble.
Hayden Bires, another ensemble member, says, “I think he learns about love and that everyone needs it and that family is more important than money.”
Maybe Seth Manning, a third grader at Donegal Intermediate School, says it he best.
“I think Scrooge learns that if has a good attitude, good things will come in life."