‘A Christmas Carol’ gives audience mixed emotions

By Marc Anthony Martinez

The nonstop up-and-down with emotion, “A Christmas Carol” was performed by the ELAC Theater Department in the P2 Black Box Theater this weekend.

The play had a variety of emotions. The audience had moments where they would laugh in parts of the play. It would go from being happy and cheerful to sad and somber, then back to laughs. Overall, it was a fun and enjoyable show for people of all ages. 

“The crowd was having a good time because they (the actors) were having a good time on stage. It was very noticeable,” Director Paul Galaviz said.

“The first show on Friday night was sold out and they had to turn away people at the entrance because they oversold online and in person,” Galaviz said. 

They managed to fix the system and limit how many tickets were sold online and in person so they wouldn’t have to turn away people at the door for other shows.

“We were oversold last night, it was amazing, it was huge… It was great energy and it’s a great learning experience (for the actors),” Director Vanessa Mizzone Pellegrini said.

The play ran for an hour and a half with no intermission. It felt like time went faster than that.

The way they would transition from scene to scene was quick and quite entertaining. 

“It’s such a nonstop play the actors don’t have time to take breaks or anything. Everyone is on the wings ready to go. If they are not ready, the play doesn’t go on, so they are just nonstop. Scrooge himself never leaves the stage. It’s a workout,” Galaviz said.

Since it was in a smaller theater it was more intimate. The audience was able to be close to the cast during the performance at certain times of the play.

Jennifer Felix who played Becky, Dilber and Townsperson said she can feel the energy from the audience and that helps her in her performance.

“When they laugh and chuckle, their energy definitely feeds into my energy. It keeps me loud and if we get more laughs from the crowd, it makes me want to be even louder,” Felix said.

The cast thought the set design was amazing and liked how it came out.

 “The design is gorgeous. To think that this came out of someone’s head is amazing,” Sarah Carrillo who played Mrs. Cratchit, Jasper and Townsperson said.

Mizzone Pellegrini knew that this show was going to be in the Black Box Theater, so she had to pick a play that would work well in that space and that was the reason she chose “A Christmas Carol.” 

Mizzone Pellegrini and Galaviz also felt with everything the world is going through right now, this is a play that a lot of people would relate to and would want to see.

“One of the reasons why we chose this, too, is because there are so many bad things going on in the world right now. It’s depressing. A lot of poverty, homelessness and war, and we wanted something that shows kindness can go a long way,” Mizzone Pellegrini said.

“A Christmas Carol” is about an old man, Ebenezer Scrooge played by Tony Jimenez and his greed, who always seems angry and mad at everything until his former partner Jacob Marley, played by Sebastian Rodriguez, who died returns in spirit to haunt Scrooge. 

Marley lets him know that if he doesn’t change, he will die and be chained to himself for eternity because he was a bad person and didn’t help anyone in need.

Marley said Scrooge that he would be haunted by three spirits that night for a chance to escape the faith that Marley has. 

The first spirit was the Ghost of Christmas past played by Chingyi Lynette Ma, and she takes him on a journey to three different times in Scrooge’s life. Christmas past takes Scrooge to his old school where his sister Fan comes and takes him out to go back home. They then go to Mr. Fezziwig’s where they had a celebration and he meets Flora. The last place is where Flora ends up leaving Scrooge because he has become greedy and changed from how he was before.

The second spirit is Christmas Present, played by Abigail Valdez, and she takes him to see how people are living in the town in the present and sees how bad things are those who he can help what people think about him and how bad they talk about him.

The third and final spirit the Ghost of Christmas future. This ghost doesn’t talk or say anything, just points at the things that Scrooge needed to see. It shows him how people talked about him when he dies and how they act. 

Another thing is the death of Tiny Tim, the son of his apprentice Bob Cratchit, and it takes him to his grave to see that he was buried there. That was enough to scare Scrooge and see how he was living was wrong and was ready to change and tell the spirit he will honor Christmas in his heart and will try to keep it all year and would not shut out the lessons of the past, present or future.

“I think it’s a lot more of a heart-warming story, like you know in the Grinch, his heart grew two sizes bigger, that’s essentially Scrooge. 

His eyes are open that there is still good in the world just because his circumstances haven’t been favorable to him because of his actions. 

That doesn’t mean that there are people that care about him and that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people that will care about him,” Carillo said.

Once Scrooge wakes up on Christmas Day, he is excited and goes out and starts doing good things for the people and being cheerful and happy. 

“It’s the spirit of Christmas, it’s just a feel-good play showing what not to do in Christmas and enjoying the company of each other and by showing these different families and different scenes it really opens up this cold-hearted person,” Galaviz said. 

Most of the cast played many roles in the play except for Jimenez, who only plays Scrooge.

“This cast is doing so many things when they’re not on stage. They’re all playing so many characters and they’re doing the sets and changing. I can’t tell you what they’re doing back there because they’re doing so many things,” Mizzone Pellegrini said.

Mizzone Pellegrini’s daughter is also part of the play. She plays Tiny Tim and Want. 

Mizzone Pellegrini needed a child to play this part. And with being apart from her family for so long she was happy that her daughter could play that role and they could be close to each other.

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