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The end of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol ends with literature’s best-known curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge, greeting a Victorian-era Christmas morning as a man reborn after a night of supernatural scolding and an almost Christmas comeuppance. It also leaves the reader wondering if Scrooge’s rebirth was an enduring change, or merely the reaction of a man scared out of his routine by things beyond his understanding.
Sapulpa Community Theatre’s (SCT) presentation of The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge casts Dickens’ happy ending into serious doubt. Set in an English courtroom one year after Scrooge’s traumatic night, the play finds Scrooge as a plaintiff in a comical lawsuit against the spectral visitors who interrupted his long, winter’s nap and scared him temporarily tender.
SCT’s production features a cast of actors familiar to SCT audiences, as well as actors new to the SCT stage. Dr. Tom Allen feature’s in the title role, and brings back Scrooge’s infamous bah-humbug with a subtle glint in the eye that makes the audience wonder if Scrooge’s contention against his ghostly visitors might just be a path to an even greater good. Daryl Johnson returns to the SCT stage as after a triumphant run in SCT’s 2019 presentation of You Can’t Get There From Here, countering Allen’s Scrooge as pleasantly-sweet defense attorney Solomon Rothschild. Rothschild’s sunny demeanor and Scrooge’s rainy-day rantings are played out under the annoyed glare of Judge Pearson, played by Donovan Bailey. An ensemble cast featuring both the living and the spectral make their way through Pearson’s courtroom in a pageant of unapologetic comedy and yuletide emotion that both tickles the funny bone and puts a lump squarely in the sentimental throat.
The production is under the direction of SCT mainstay Sherry Whisman, and as usual, Whisman delivers in a big way. The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge marks Whisman’s second directorial outing of SCT’s 30th anniversary season, having directed Johnson in his SCT debut earlier this year.
The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge is written by Mark Brown, and is the final production of SCT’s 30th season slate. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on December 6, 7, and December 13, and at 2:00 p.m. on December 8, 14, and 15. All performances are staged at Sapulpa Community Theatre, 214 South Water in Sapulpa. Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited, and may be reserved by calling 918-227-2169, or purchased on-line at www.sapulpatheatre.org.