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Christmas comes early to BVHS stage
‘A Christmas Carol’ to be presented Nov. 14-17
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

November 14. 2013 9:53AM
Christmas is coming early to Brandon Valley High School this season when “A Christmas Carol” comes to the stage of the Performing Arts Center for four productions later this week (Nov. 14-17).

“My favorite holiday is Christmas, and it’s (Mark) Griebel’s favorite holiday … and Kevin Brick said it’s not too early to do a Christmas show,” explained director Melanie Sittig. “We just hope the show gets everyone ready for Christmas, and that our audiences see once again how deep our talent is with the number of kids we can stick on stage.”

Beginning last summer, the famed Charles Dickens’ book was adapted to a script for stage by directors Sittig and Griebel, and is intended to take its audiences on a journey through a day in the life of Ebenezer Scrooge, played by BVHS senior Jeff Lush.

“Griebel and I tag-teamed it a little bit,” explained Sittig, who cast more than 80 kids to stage and behind-the-scenes roles. “I did the first run and then he picked what he kind of liked, and then we would mesh it together and go through it and say this doesn’t work and this does, so it was quite a process.”

It’s the first time both directors took on the challenge of adapting a book for a state production.

Sittig said they’ve stayed true to the well-known story line and time period of the 1800s. “We used as many words as possible; that’s why we have the ‘Christmas Spirit,’ so that we don’t lose a lot of Dickens’ words,” she said. “Because a lot of what Kara (Polasky) says as the ‘Christmas Spirit’ that’s kind of like the narrator within, and we don’t want to lose all that amazing wording and phrases and dialogues just because it wasn’t written in as dialogue.”

The old-style show, Sittig said, is also another opportunity to expose the students to different genres.

The 80-plus high school students involved in BVHS’s fall production is more numbers than have typically been involved in the past, Sittig said.

“We kind of just go with the script that fits the kids that we have; that’s how we choose shows that we feel will play well or think that our audiences will enjoy,” she said.

Lush said he was elated to score the lead role of Scrooge.

“It’s my senior year, and I’ve been in a few plays, so I wanted it,” he said.

The role has challenged him though, as he has few breaks from the stage and a plethora of lines to memorize.

“You don’t really get a break when you play this role,” he said.

Lush, generally a happy-go-lucky teen as he describes himself, said he certainly doesn’t identify himself in the character until the end of the show.

“At the beginning, he’s a mean, crotchety old man who absolutely hates Christmas for reasons unknown. As he goes through life, he softens up with the help of three spirits and by the end of the play, he’s a guy that everybody loves,” Lush tells. “So it’s kind of weird for me to be playing a mean role because if you ask anybody, I’m kind of a fun guy and pretty happy.”

Junior Kjerstin Williams and senior Paige Wright are playing the roles of “Christmas Past” and “Christmas Present,” respectively.

Williams’ character has the task of showing Scrooge what he could have had in the past had he made different choices.

She was drawn to the show and the role because of her familiarity with it.

“I’ve seen so many renditions of it, and I love how it’s kind of a creepy but enticing character (Christmas Past),” she said.

Wright was also elated to score the role of “Christmas Present” because of her character’s simple trait: “bubbliness.”

“I love this role,” she said. “It’s so much fun because I’m so bubbly.”

What: BVHS fall play, “A Christmas Carol”
When: 7 p.m. – Nov. 14, 15 & 16; 1 p.m. – Nov. 17
Where: BV Performing Arts Center
Tickets: Call 582-8235
What: BVHS fall play, “A Christmas Carol"

When: 7 p.m. – Nov. 14, 15 & 16; 1 p.m. – Nov. 17

Where: BV Performing Arts Center

Tickets: Call 582-8235

"The Christmas Spirit," played by Kara Polasky, runs through her lines with student director Marina Gillespie and assistant student director Erin Buse at a rehearsal of Brandon Valley High's fall play, "A Christmas Carol." The play will be presented Nov. 14-17 in the Performing Arts Center. Photo by Jill Meier

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