Walpole High Drama Club Presents ‘A Christmas Carol’

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The cast during a Christmas dinner scene at the Cratchet home.

Peter Hoegler

The cast during a Christmas dinner scene at the Cratchet home.
The cast during a Christmas dinner scene at the Cratchet home.

Amid the hustle of the holidays, the Walpole High School Drama Club celebrated the Christmas season with a cast of colorful characters. On Friday December 6 and Saturday December 7, Walpole students gussied up in 19th century garb to perform a holiday classic in their production of “A Christmas Carol.”

From Charles Dickens’ classic novella comes the Lynn Stevens stage adaptation– a powerful production which tells the heartwarming tale of a miserly man’s transformation. With the help of three holiday apparitions– the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come– Ebenezer Scrooge learns to abandon his selfish attitude and instead adopt one of generosity and sympathy. Just as Scrooge overcomes his demons and appreciates the importance of family, audience members watching with their families were able to experience a similar set of emotions as a result of the Drama Club’s exquisite acting skills.

“It’s just a fantastic story, even if you set aside the holiday aspect of it,” Director Jim D’Attilio said. “The story is just great.”

D’Attilio, who has overseen the Walpole High School drama club for 21 years, altered the play from its original version so that the group could perform a slightly  modified version of the same play every four years.

“Mr. D’Atilio worked so hard to make this play a success,” said sophomore Matt Moriarty, who played the Narrator, Belle’s Husband, and a Businessman. “He made advertisements and created online sales so that we could perform in front of a sold out audience. You cannot ask for anything more from a Director.”

Moriarty alludes to the new online ticket sales and increased advertisements around the school and in the Walpole Times which helped make this year’s installment of “A Christmas Carol” a complete success. The Drama Club was especially pleased with the result of the well-publicized play, for both shows were completely sold out.

The production starred senior Rory Hardiman as the grumpy protagonist and junior Katie Trudel, senior Genevieve Canavan, and senior Doug Stewart as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, respectively.

“All of the actors were awesome,” said Hardiman. “The play was certainly a lot of hard work from the actor’s and crew’s perspective, but in the end, it worked out for a great show.”

Hardiman stole the shows on both nights with his amusing portrayal of Scrooge, the archetypal grump. Hardiman’s facial expressions and character were perfect for this production.

The set was an amazing 3-D structure that exuded the atmosphere of the mid-1800s and set the stage for a Christmas play. As Hardiman walked the stage that was modeled after the London streets, D’Attilio had eleven carolers singing on an elevated stage that was obfuscated by a black curtain. Also, a frightening doorknocker adorned Scrooge’s door and well-timed audio cues built the suspense for Scrooge’s haunting.

Unlike most holiday classics, it was clear that D’Attilio wanted his production to be a dark story. Two of four spirits that visited Scrooge were Halloween-level scary. Scrooge’s former partner Jacob Marley (senior Mike Griffin), heavy with chains, sprung up to warn Scrooge. The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come (Stewart) stood on stilts and wore an enormous black gown–reminding the audience of a silent Grim Reaper. Without saying a word, Spirit Future merely pointed and sent shivers up the spine.

Of course, “A Christmas Carol” would not be complete without the adorable Crachit family led by Mrs. Cratchit (Lauren LoRusso) and of course Tiny Tim, who perfected the crutched walk.

Christmas has come early for the Drama Club, who put on a fantastic show in front of a sold out audience. This production is exactly what D’Attilio was hoping for as he continues to accrue his Drama Department into something Walpole High School should be extremely proud of.