Time for 'Christmas Carol' SOUTHEAST -- Sykesville * Eldersburg * Gamber

December 10, 1992|By Maureen Rice | Maureen Rice,Contributing Writer

"Are there no prisons? No workhouses for the poor?" Tha crotchety miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, will learn his lesson again this season in the Liberty High School auditorium.

The Thespian Society of Liberty High School will present the timeless classic, "A Christmas Carol" tomorrow, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee Saturday at 2 p.m. Doors will open about 15 minutes before each show.

The play is co-directed by Kathy Schnorr and Cathy James, drama and English teachers, respectively, at Liberty High School.

"Originally we had planned on a faculty play," said Ms. Schnorr, "but we decided to do a Christmas play instead."

The Charles Dickens story seemed a natural choice.

Who doesn't want to see this play again and again? Especially up close, with the excitement of a hometown production. This rendition boasts a properly sarcastic and touching aged Scrooge (Tim Miller), an adorable Tiny Tim (Andrew Johnson and Jeff Schnorr) and, as a surprise, Bob Cratchett, normally a rather insignificant character, assuming a potent and very likable personality, with sophomore Brian Dial exploiting all the complexities of the role.

Add the rest of the cast, with believable portrayals, the disturbing and vaguely menacing ghosts, imaginative scenery and cleverly crafted costumes.

The co-directors, friends of years standing, enjoy putting together plays with each other.

"We have similar tastes and similar visions -- she takes a scene, I take a scene, then we throw it all together," said Ms. Schnorr.

They throw in their kids, as well, finding parts for them to master while enjoying the work, mishaps and laughter always present in theater.

"We have several double-casted characters," said Cathy James, whose daughter Caitlyn will appear as young Scrooge's little sister and elsewhere. "We have four different people playing Scrooge in various scenes," added Kathy Schnorr, "two of whom are brothers. This is wonderful for the continuity, because they already look alike without resorting to lots of makeup."

Brothers Kevin and Brandon Schreiner, freshman and senior respectively, will appear as Scrooge in a festive holiday mood at Fezziwig's (Mike Nestor -- very affable) and Scrooge a few years later, when he jilts his girlfriend Belle (Kim Dubois) and begins his march into his miserly future.

The Ghost of Christmas past (Katy Schuman) is dignified and faintly sorrowful, erupting with constrained rage at Scrooge's disbelief; the Ghost of Christmas present (Diane Dickey) is just as chimerical as proper, lulling the unwary into the belief of harmlessness and jolting Scrooge with mockery.

The awesome Ghost of Christmas yet to come (Cheryl Kuehny) is a vision of horror, black with flaming red hair.

"The hair may suggest the flames of hell -- at least it should to Scrooge," said Kathy James, "but the kids [the actors] don't think so -- they keep reminding us that Scrooge reforms himself."

The scenery will feature a revolving stage crafted by Robert Hampt, an adult volunteer, and several talented students.

"The revolving stage is perfect for this play," said Ms. Schnorr, "it allows the 'present' scenes to occur mainly in one place, with the others elsewhere on the stage."

Mr. Hampt, explained Ms. Schnorr, came in response to an advertisement a few years ago to volunteer with the scenery of another production, and he has been masterminding the scenery ever since.

Sophomore Rachel Brady is creating the costumes, with help from other students.

"I learned a lot working with Joyce Fritz at the Theatre On The Hill last summer," Ms. Brady said, "and I've been sewing since I was 8." She added that the whole appearance of a costume can be changed by a cape, hat or other accessory, which is a great time-saver for herself, designing and making the costumes, and for the actors, in the frantic changing between scenes.

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