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Community theatre at its best in Placentia

The cast of "Mr. Scrooge's Christmas" featured performers of all ages. — Chris Newhook
The cast of The cast of "Mr. Scrooge's Christmas" featured performers of all ages. — Chris Newhook
Sheldon Slaney, left, played the title character for "Mr. Scrooge's Christmas," and Nikki Slaney performed beside him as the ghost of Scrooge's former business partner, Jacob Marley. — Chris Newhook
Sheldon Slaney, left, played the title character for "Mr. Scrooge's Christmas," and Nikki Slaney performed beside him as the ghost of Scrooge's former business partner, Jacob Marley. — Chris Newhook

PLACENTIA, NL — There were no cries of “Bah! Humbug!” on Dec. 3rd through to the 6th when community members of the Town of Placentia brilliantly brought “Mr. Scrooge’s Christmas” to life.

Put on by the Placentia Area Theatre d’Heritage (PATH), “Mr. Scrooge’s Christmas” closely followed Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” One of the changes was the addition of a few well-placed musical numbers, which worked perfectly to enhance the story. However, the biggest difference was that instead of paid actors playing the roles, a wide range of residents of the Placentia area volunteered their time and talent to do the honours.

As the story goes, Mr. Scrooge is notorious for his grumbling and his tight-fisted and miserly ways. Early on, we met Bob Cratchit, his underpaid clerk who humbly asked for a day off on Christmas. Once grudgingly given, Cratchit dashed off to be with his family.

But soon, the life of Mr. Scrooge was set to dramatically change. That night, it would be the ghostly visit of his late partner, Jacob Marley and ghosts from his past, present, and future that would offer this cold-hearted wretch with some much-needed insight into a life squandered and gone wrong. And miraculously, these experiences would serve to re-kindle the faded embers in Mr. Scrooge’s heart, transforming him into a kind and generous man.

Expertly organized and directed by Connie Newhook, the artistic director of PATH, and assisted skilfully by Maxine Lake, “Mr. Scrooge’s Christmas” turned out to be a great success. It was very well-received and after all three scheduled performances were sold out, PATH added yet another night, which likewise, promptly sold out.

Placentia Area Theatre d’Heritage performed "Mr. Scrooge's Christmas" for four consecutive nights at the Placentia Bay Cultural Arts Centre earlier this month. — Lee Everts
Placentia Area Theatre d’Heritage performed "Mr. Scrooge's Christmas" for four consecutive nights at the Placentia Bay Cultural Arts Centre earlier this month. — Lee Everts

The show also admirably demonstrated many of the well-known and sometimes hidden talents in the Placentia area. Each of the actors shone in their roles. The cast included a variety of residents of all ages, including members of the town council, along with some students, as well as the principal of Laval High School. The play would not have been possible without the generous sponsors who support PATH throughout the year.

Together PATH and the residents of the Placentia area did an exceptional job in staging “Mr. Scrooge’s Christmas.” This musical was PATH’s first foray into community theatre. Let’s hope it won’t be the last.

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