St. Thomas’ College gears up for ‘A Christmas Carol: The Musical’

Friday, 11 December 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



Herald the Christmas Season with S. Thomas College Mt. Lavinia’s English Drama Society. The students, in collaboration with the Canto Perpetua Choir, will stage ‘A Christmas Carol: the Musical’, an adaptation of the Charles Dickens original of the same name.

Dickens was influenced by his own childhood experiences of Christmas and the plight of the poor and their children during the early 19th century – a recurring theme in his work-in writing the tale.

The book was written at a time when Britain was reinventing its traditional concepts about celebrating Christmas, and since it was published in 1843 it has remained wildly popular and has never been out of print.

The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter old miser and his Christmas Eve encounters with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future is a story we’ve known since childhood.

The cast thought they were familiar with the tale until they took the production on – “It’s an extremely difficult play,” says cast leader Lihan Mendis.

“The characters are very complex, so characterisation is something we’ve all had to be very careful about.” There’s Scrooge, of course, an old miser established as “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!”

His disapproval of Christmas keeps him in on a cold Christmas Eve, and he is visited by his old business partner Jacob Marley, now a miserable ghost dragging a network of heavy chains.

Marley informs Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts and warns him to heed their advice. Scrooge is played by Lihan, who promises a different interpretation for the audience and Marley is played by David Canisious. The three ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future are taken on by Adarsh Nanayakkara, Pranith Wirasinha and Dhilhan Fernando.

Their job is to take Scrooge on a journey through alternative Christmases. One is in his past, when Scrooge was a lonely child.

The second, to the present, where he is taken to Christmas celebrations – and this opens Scrooge’s eyes to his employee Bob Cracthit’s family’s woes and his son, Tiny Tim.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his fate if he continues in the same vein as a bitter old miser.

Shilendra Hewawasam plays Tiny Tim, the buoyant little boy who views life with optimism despite his illness. His father is played by Ravishke Tissera, while Paveshka Rekaw plays Mrs. Cratchit. Kiran Ranatunga plays the duplicitous Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge’s laundress.

Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, is played by Jayamal Rathnayake, who says of his character – “he’s very energetic and light-hearted-he loves Christmas.” Fred invites Scrooge to his Christmas party each and every year, only to be summarily refused.

But Scrooge may change, as those familiar with the tale may well know; Dickens’ Christmas classic is all about the season of giving, and that’s what the cast hopes will be highlighted through the play.

‘A Christmas Carol: the musical’ is on at the S. Thomas College Mt Lavinia College Hall from 11-13 December from 8 p.m.

Tickets can be obtained from the school’s OBA Secretariat during office hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) – tickets are priced at Rs. 1,000 (reserved seating) and Rs. 500 (unreserved seating).