Christmas classic caps off troupe’s series

The story of Ebeneezer Scrooge hits the Charles Bailey Theatre this weekend in the Columbia Phoenix Players’ “Scrooge’s Christmas Carol."

An old bitter man, who thinks Christmas is just an excuse for people to steal his money, has a change of heart when four ghosts visit him to share his fate.

The story of Ebeneezer Scrooge hits the stage this weekend in the Columbia Phoenix Players’ “Scrooge’s Christmas Carol,” the ever-popular Dickens’ tale told with a few liberties to bring an audience a comic and family-friendly rendition.

“It’s a pleasure to play Scrooge because it’s not much of a stretch for me because I’m 73 years old,” said Laurie Ingersole.

“Bah Humbug! I enjoy being so crabby and giving orders and wanting my own way all the time,” he laughed, “and if anybody stands up to me, I don’t like it so I just say, ‘You’re fired, get lost, dismissed.’”

His character pulls in the audience as they follow his journey and complete transformation – from a selfish, domineering man to a caring and kind individual ­– when he realizes the value of Christmas and that life is too short.

The popular story is the perfect way to cap 12 seasons of large theatre productions in Trail.

The theatre troupe started performing pantos, musical-comedy theatrical productions, in 2000.

“It’s the last in the series, it’s one of the world’s best-loved Christmas stories and if we’re going to end our series during the Christmas season, you can’t end it with anything better,” said producer Jean Wylie.

The loss of a storage facility in Fruitvale this fall has resulted in the troupe liquidating 75 per cent of its sets its accumulated over the past decade in order to fit into a smaller place in Montrose.

“Like anything you start from scratch, you have to build it up again,” she said.

“Fortunately, this script is the only one I’ve done that didn’t require a big set so that was kind of the finger of fate.”

The show will still go on, but without a large set design to pull from and dwindling committed actors, Phoenix Players will perform smaller shows in different venues in the future.

“It’s bitter sweet,” said Kay Poirier, who followed in her mother’s footsteps and fell in love with theatre.

Though comedy is her forte, Poirier said directing the show was no joke. She had to balance a fine line, teetering between keeping it traditional but keeping it panto.

“It was difficult because panto is so ruckus, so comedic and so goofy and Charles Dickens, Scrooge, is so traditional, so poignant, with such a story behind it,” she said.

The script, borrowed from Darren Humphries (with apologies to Dickens), is altered to include local humour and references to Trail business and public figures.

“Scrooge’s Christmas Carol” comes to the Charles Bailey Theatre Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets, $10 for children and $14 for adults, are available at the box office or by phone at 368-9669.

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