Guided by Director Valerie Bijur Carlson and Assistant Director Matthew Frazier-Smith, the TASIS High School Theater Company—with significant contributions from Elementary and Middle School students—delivered three excellent performances of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in the Palmer Center over the weekend of November 15–17.
The performances on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon were filmed and can be viewed in their entirety below.
Read this article to learn about the background of this year’s High School Fall Play, and continue reading below to learn more about the many students and faculty members who worked so hard to share this timeless tale of compassion and empathy with the TASIS community.
From “Bah, Humbug” to “God bless us all, every one.”
Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is arguably the most frequently adapted story in the English language. Film versions span time and range in style from properly British Reginald Owen in the 1930s to The Muppets in the ’80s and to motion-capture of Jim Carrey in this decade. Scrooge has been played by actors as varied as George C. Scott, Alastair Sim, Bill Murray, and Mr. Magoo (all right—Jim Backus as Mr. Magoo). And virtually every American television show of the 70s–90s felt compelled to shoot a Christmas Carol episode. As a theater piece, the play is a staple of professional and community theaters all across the United States and England—and probably farther abroad than that.
Why has Charles Dickens’s tale, conceived and written in six week’s time, continued to enchant and move readers and audiences for 176 years? Perhaps because it is so humanely an examination of the human condition, written in a supremely engaging style with colorful yet recognizable characters, a memorable storyline, a poignant message about our duty to each other, and a narrator who wears both his heart and his humor on his sleeve. For Dickens, A Christmas Carol was a way to get middle- and upper-class audiences to sympathize (or better yet, empathize) with the plight of the poor in hopes of effecting change in his society. As he has one character, the ghost of Jacob Marley, state:
Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business;
charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business.
The novella was an instant bestseller—selling out its run of six thousand copies by Christmas eve— and it has never been out of print in the 176 years since.
~ quotations by Charles Dickens
~ information from BBC.com
Cast & Characters
|Charles Dickens, the author of A Christmas Carol||Jackson Reed*|
|Catherine Hogarth Dickens, his wife||Charlie Rhein|
The Ghosts & Spirits
|Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s dead business partner||Teiva Jabbour|
|The Spirit of Christmas Past||Anna Collingwood|
|The Spirit of Christmas Present||Laura Kockara**|
|Want & Ignorance||Iona Love & Lucas Airolo|
|The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come||Alua Tursynkulova**|
|The ghosts of the haunted dead||Ensemble (inc. Kseniia Bek*, Naddiyah Tolliver, & Oscar Schiller)|
The Present (1934)
|Ebenezer Scrooge, a person of business||Josip Biondic (Thurs/Sat) & Ella Abisi* (Fri/Sun)|
|Fred, Scrooge’s nephew||Ben Carlson-Peters|
|Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s clerk||Fran Suarez|
|Mrs. Cratchit||Ari Kalashnikova*|
|Tiny Tim, the Cratchits’ youngest child||Dylan Rhein|
|Martha Cratchit||Delaney McKee|
|Peter Cratchit||Anthony Nikoloff|
|Luke Cratchit||Lucas Airolo|
|Belinda Cratchit||Iona Love|
|Salvation Army general and major||Alua Tursynkulova** & Helena Amador Ramos*|
The Past (1887-1927)
|Scrooge’s schoolmates and their parents||Ensemble|
|Fan, Scrooge’s little sister||Iona Love|
|Ebenezer (age 12 & 14)||Lucas Airolo (Thurs/Sat) & Delaney McKee (Fri/Sun)|
|Ebenezer (age 20 & 25)||Ben Carlson-Peters (Thurs/Sat) & Ari Kalashnikova (Fri/Sun)|
|Jacob Marley (age 20)||Teiva Jabbour|
|Mr. Fezziwig, Scrooge’s first employer||Charles Dickens|
|Mrs. Fezziwig||Alua Tursynkulova|
|The Fezziwig daughters||Helena Amador Ramos*, Iona Love, & Charles Dickens|
|Belle/Bill, Scrooge’s fiancé/ex-fiancé||Ella Abisi (Thurs/Sat) & Josep Biondic (Fri/Sun)|
|Eliot, Belle’s husband/Eliza, Bill’s Wife||Fran Suarez/Naddiyah Tolliver|
The Present (1934)
|Emma, Fred’s wife||Helena Amador Ramos*|
|Fred & Emma‘s guests, Topper and Rose||Oscar Schiller & Anna Collingwood|
The Future (1939)
|Business acquaintances of Scrooge’s||Graham Hogan, Oscar Schiller, & Kseniia Bek|
|Mrs. Oliver, Scrooge’s charwoman||Laura Kockara|
|Miss Dilber, Laundress||Naddiyah Tolliver|
|Old Bob, a dealer in stolen goods||Teiva Jabbour|
|Caroline & Richard, debtors to Scrooge||Catherine & Charles Dickens|
* Drama 1 class member
** IB Theater past or present
|Director||Ms. Valerie Bijur Carlson|
|Assistant Director||Mr. Matthew Frazier-Smith|
|Stage Managers||Graham Hogan & Zawadiyah Tolliver**|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Idil Bektas|
|Music Director||Ms. Samantha Forrest|
|Dialect Coach||Ms. Claire Thomas|
|Sets & Props||Anna Collingwood, Giovanni Garbuio*, Iris Kaymak**, Yan Li, Xingling Liu, Trinity Mack, & Ms. Carlson|
|Running Crew||Giovanni Garbuio & Iris Kaymak|
|Carpenter||Mr. Marco Casati|
|Charge Artists||Mr. Martyn Dukes & Mr. Andrea Molina|
|Costumes||Idil Bektas, Helga Gradeci (Wardrobe Mistress), Naddiyah Tolliver, Ms. Prentice, & Ms. Carlson|
|Hair & Make-up||Ariel Hennink*, Hanna Osgood, & Mira Otyam|
|Sound||Anna Collingwood, Trinity Mack, & Zawadiyah Tolliver|
|Lighting||Miguel Fernandez**, Nika Grigorian, & Mr. Frazier-Smith|
|Poster Design||Kseniia Bek|
|Production Photographer||Ms. Kim Nelson|
|Portraits & Headshots||Annabelle Worrell & Kelly Zhao|
|Program Design||Ms. Valerie Bijur Carlson & Mr. Jacopo Riva|
|Communications & Videography||Mr. Mark Chevalier & Mr. Brendan Shea|
* Drama 1 class member
** IB Theater past or present
About the Company
Underclass members of A Christmas Carol’s cast and crew represent the classes of 2021, ’22, ’23, ’25, ’26, ’27, ’28, and ’29. They hail from Australia, Brazil, Croatia, England, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Mexico. the Netherlands, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, and the USA. In advance of the performance, the company recognized the veterans in the cast with the following senior biographies:
Anna Collingwood, USA (Ghost of Christmas Past/Rose/Sound & Set Design), is excited to watch this production of A Christmas Carol come to life! Previous performances with TASIS Theater include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Annie Get Your Gun, Antigone/CAESAR, and The Pirates of Penzance. She would like to thank her fellow cast and crew, Ms. Carlson, and Mr. Frazier-Smith for bringing this performance to life. But most importantly, Anna would like to thank her parents for supporting her and watching all her productions. To Miguel, Trinity, and Laura, she would like to say, “Break a leg...and let’s make this senior year amazing and unforgettable!”
Miguel Fernandez, Mexico (Lighting Design & Light Board Operator), is pleased to be in the booth and light up the stage with a great variety of different looks for the performance. His previous TASIS Theater experiences include acting in MCF: What A Life! and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Since Miguel has experienced being on stage and in the spotlight, he wanted to switch things up his senior year and help create the atmosphere and the magic for the show from behind the scenes. He would like to thank Anna, Laura, and Trinity for dealing with his nonsense and helping him when he needed it most.
Iris Kaymak, Turkey (Set Design & Running Crew), is excited to be back designing and running sets. Her ultimate objective was to create a somber feel in correlation with the storyline of the play. She particularly enjoyed designing and collaborating, but most importantly playing with the electric screw gun and “chop saw” (AKA radial arm saw), as it was a new and enjoyable experience. She would like to thank everyone who was with her during her three-year journey in TASIS Theater.
Laura Kockara, Turkey/Latvia (Ghost of Christmas Present/ Charwoman), is very happy to be a part of her seventh TASIS production. She enjoys the characters she plays, especially her costumes, and thinks her cockney accent is questionable. She is very glad to have her last fall performance with her ultimate best friends of four years: Trinity, Miguel, and Anna. She also would like to thank Ms. Carlson for the amazing opportunity to perform in this play and in previous productions.
Trinity Mack, USA (Sound & Set Design / Sound Board Operator), is exhilarated that she is taking on the Sound Board Operator role again this year...but sad that this is her last theater production at TASIS. TASIS Theater was what started her journey behind the scenes as a techie and taught her how to work a soundboard. She is also happy that she was a part of past productions such as Annie Get Your Gun and Antigone/CAESAR and will not forget her time in the booth during those performances.
Hanna Osgood, France/CH/USA (Make-up & Hair Design), is grateful to be working with an amazing cast and crew and is extremely excited for the performances. She previously created make-up for last year’s Antigone/CAESAR and The Pirates of Penzance and also acted in a number of TASIS Theater productions (such as Love’s Labour’s Lost) before becoming a part of the crew. Hanna will study Political Science in Boston and hopefully continuing to do SFX and stage make-up.
Zawadiyah Tolliver, Tanzania/ USA (Stage Manager), is stage managing her third consecutive show at TASIS, having also been on headset in the booth for last year’s antigone/CAESAR and The Pirates of Penzance. The experience of the past year and three months has been surreal for her. Where did the time go? Theater has become her second home, and a little piece of the theater will forever be with her. Because she cherishes these memories, she wishes everyone could have theater experience. Exit line: “Guess this bio serves as my curtain call.”
Ms. Carlson and the company would like to offer special thanks to the following people:
Samantha Forrest, Simone Aeschliman, and David Peters; Martyn Dukes, Mark Aeschliman, and Natalie Philpot; the M. Crist Fleming Library and TASIS Receptionists; the 2019–2020 Drama 1 class; the TASIS Communications and Website staff; the TASIS Multimedia, Facilities, and Housekeeping Departments, especially Todd Bearden, Roberto Colombo, Michele Dinelli, and Mariangela Tognalli; Christopher Nikoloff, Mark Abisi, and KC McKee; Lynn Fleming Aeschliman and the Board of Directors; and the families, friends, advisors, and dorm parents of the cast and crew.
A Christmas Carol Photo Galleries