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Get in the spirit with 'A Christmas Carol'
Dickens classic runs Wednesday-Friday in Yuba City
'A Christmas Carol'
TIMES: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday
WHERE: First United Methodist Church, 3101 Colusa Highway, Yuba City
TICKETS: $11 and $13
The FCS Players of Faith Christian School will present Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" Wednesday through Friday at First United Methodist Church in Yuba City.
Director Paul DeMeritt, who adapted the script, said, "I did my original adaptation of 'A Christmas Carol' back in 1979, I believe. I wanted to do a production of it but hadn't found an adaptation that I liked. They all seemed a little cold to me.
"So I went back to the original and found that Dickens' original telling of the story is very warm. Yes, it's this fun, spooky Christmas ghost story, but it's really about a change of life.
"I also found from a spiritual perspective that it's a very spiritual story, that it's about renewal, rebirth and redemption," DeMeritt said.
DeMeritt has produced his original adaptation for about 30 years, but this year has added musical elements from "The Christmas Revels," which he first saw about 10 years ago in Oakland.
"There are about eight revels that happen all around the country and have been going on for about 40 years. They were started by a man named John Langstaff and are kind of communal celebrations of Christmas and the solstice season, just bringing people together to celebrate this remarkable, holy time of the year," DeMeritt said.
"So I saw the production and thought this thing rocks the free world. Over the years, I've gotten to know the people who produce the revels, and they love to encourage educators to bring aspects of revels production into their schools and get people celebrating all the holidays, all the changing of the seasons, but particularly Christmas and the solstice."
DeMeritt said his production include some of the musical and magical aspects of the revels tradition, while also "breaking down the fourth wall." "We really involve the audience, and audience members young and old are really going to feel like they're part of the production. They're going to feel like they're right there with us," he said.
"A Christmas Carol" is the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge (Travis Dodds), the stingiest man in town and an old curmudgeon. Bob Crachit (Evan Treanor) — who has a family of six children — works for Scrooge, but Scrooge makes Bob's life miserable, DeMeritt said.
"Everyone around Scrooge is saying, 'Get in the spirit of the season,' but Scrooge's response is archetypal: 'Bah, humbug!'" DeMeritt said.
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his deceased former partner, Jacob Marley (Alex Samay), who warns Scrooge that he should change his ways and not end up in eternal torment the way Marley did.
Marley tells Scrooge that he will have three visitors during the night: the ghosts of Christmas Past (Vicki Ward), Christmas Present (Nicole Weeks) and Christmas Yet to Be.
"Through the visit by Christmas Past, Scrooge gets to see how his life has become the way it is. Christmas Present shows him how people who don't have much in life are still happy and grateful and still celebrate no matter what," DeMeritt said.
"Christmas Yet to Be shows him how each and every one of us makes a difference by our choices. By every choice we make, we choose every day either to make the world a better place or a worse place," he added.
"Scrooge realizes there is a higher power, as some would say. There is a bigger picture in the universe than just Ebeneezer Scrooge, and he has a rebirth — he becomes a new man, and he chooses from that day forward to live with the spirit of Christmas in his heart," DeMeritt said.
The cast includes Lydia Buerer, Austin Cooper, Paul DeMeritt, Lacey Ellis, Matthew Hadley, Hannah Hanson, Katie Jacenich, Kami Mattice and Mason Whinnery. DeMeritt said the FCS Players are joined onstage by 25 students from the "Awesome After School Drama Program" for children ages 5 to 14, directed by Lindsay Roberts, including Keegan Warta as Tiny Tim. The live orchestra, led by music director Lana Dodd, includes Jim Borzelleri, Judy Coe and Jeff Poppinga.
"There's a reason why I do this production in some shape or form every couple of years. This show is a part of my life, and I have found that nothing gets me in the mood for Christmas like this production," DeMeritt said.
"So if you want to do one thing this Christmas season with your family that will definitely get you in the mood for Christmas, this is it. You'll laugh, you'll sing, you'll dance, you'll make merry. We'll have a wonderful time together, and you'll be ready to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas when you've seen this show."