MOUNT VERNON – For generations, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has signified hope in the face of despair, a ray of light in the darkness.
The Winter Sanctuary homeless shelter in conjunction with the Community Family Players will present a play based on this beloved family tale Dec. 19-21.
A Christmas Carol embodies the theme of compassion through the transformation of the greedy Ebenezer Scrooge into a loving person. That theme fits perfectly with the mission of the homeless shelter, which hopes to make the show its chief annual fundraiser.
The last night of the production will be a gala performance that will enable the audience to provide an additional measure of support for the shelter while enjoying a festive backstage experience with the cast.
Scott Elliott, pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ, will direct a cast of actors from throughout the community. Elliott has more than 40 years of experience acting and directing.
“It’s an amazing story,” said Elliott. “Scrooge is suffering the most. It is his choice whether to let in the light.”
On the first two nights, Thursday (Dec. 19) and Friday (Dec. 20), tickets will be $15 for adults and $12.50 for students and children. Saturday’s show, however, will be a gala event, featuring not only the play, but a gathering and question and answer with the cast, catered high-end hors d’oeuvres, and a string quartet in the adjacent ballroom. Tickets for that event are $100. For all tickets, visit www.knoxcountymemorialbuilding.org.
A Christmas Carol will provide a steady source of revenue to help operate the shelter for years to come, said board president David Perry. The shelter, located at 401 W. Vine St., is open Nov. 1 – May 1 and provided 18 beds for men and nine for women. “It’s the inaugural event of what will become our annual fundraiser,” Perry said. Major sponsorship for the production is being provided by Ariel Corporation and Kokosing Construction Company.
The Community Family Players is a minister of First Congregational that builds connections between youth and adults while giving them an opportunity to learn the craft of theater and grow as individuals. In an interesting twist, in this production, the role of Scrooge will be played by a woman, Cate Blair-Wilhelm.
The problems experienced by the Cratchit family – being poor and having a chile with a disability – are problems experienced by families today, which makes it easier for audiences to be transported back to the mid-1800s, when A Christmas Carol was written, says Becker Chamberlin, one of four storytellers in the show. “The actors are excited to be part of it,” she said. “Each is trying to see their character portrayed well. I feel sure the message of the play will come through.”