In its latest effort to create new, original works, the Heritage High School theater department is presenting “A Christmas Carol: The Tale of Two Scrooges,” a performance with two very different protagonists. The first installment runs Dec. 1 through Dec. 4, featuring Ebenezer Scrooge in his familiar role as a stingy miser haunted by the spirits of Christmas. From Dec. 8 through Dec. 10, the Heritage players perform a new version with Ernestina Scrooge, re-telling the classic story with a female lead.
“It’s really fun to look at it this way, because I don’t think many people in the past have done a female version,” department director Angela Ramacci said.
Inspiration for creating a dual-version play was partially to create a unique take on theater, but also to meet the needs of Heritage’s growing theater program. Ramacci said there were talented male leads to fit in the traditional Scrooge, but the department’s strong female actresses deserved a chance for leading roles as well.
As in the traditional retelling of Charles Dickens’ iconic tale, both performances will be set in 19th century England and will present Scrooge at three different points of his life. The two will differ in Scrooge’s employment situation and love interests, presenting a one-of-a-kind perspective on the well-know story.
Creating two distinct plays is part of a larger trend for Heritage to prioritize inclusivity for its productions. This year’s production includes more than 100 students between the two performances, almost four times what the school had for any show prior.
The production also includes 25 students from Harper Park Middle School, which serves as a way to introduce younger students to the feel and culture of a theater.
“It’s something that’s really near and dear to my heart and something I think is essential and at the center of theater,” Ramacci said.
That inclusivity extends to other schools as well. Heritage is putting on its play in conjunction with Tuscarora High School’s rendition of A Christmas Carol, and members of both theater companies are attending each other’s shows.
Heritage has gained a growing reputation in the county and across the region as one of the top theatrical groups in the area. Last year, the school was nominated for a county-high of nine Cappies, an award recognizing excellence in high school theater across Maryland, D.C and Virginia. The school took home two trophies, and was selected to perform its Spring 2016 rendition of Chicago at the Kennedy Center.
The school will look to take home more recognition in its Spring 2017 production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. In the meantime, the players are focused on working together to put on a truly original take on A Christmas Carol.
“This is an amazing way to kick off what I think is going to be an awesome year and I’m excited for what’s in store,” Ramacci said.