“Humbug High”: A Contemporary Christmas Carol
December 13, 2017
“A Christmas Carol” Explained
Written by Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol” is considered a timeless classic and was a story thought to be common knowledge for a while. However, many students today have never heard of the story.
As widespread as this story is, however, there have been many attempts in adapting, interpreting, and modernizing the story in different forms of media, particularly film and plays.
All recognizable adaptations revolve around a miserly, cold and distant man who has no sympathy or empathy for others, along with holding a strong hatred for Christmas. This man’s name is Ebenezer Scrooge, a name now synonymous with someone stingy and uncaring.
He continues to be horrible to everyone, whether they’re his family members, employees, or people asking for charity — until he is visited by three ghosts one fateful Christmas Eve. The first ghost shows him how happy he used to be in the past when money didn’t matter to him and he was kindhearted he was towards others.
The second ghost shows him how people are happy in the present even if they are poor, showing him the true meaning of Christmas spirit, as well as how the future will turn out if he did not change his ways — showing him just how much of an impact his lack of empathy can have on others.
These events affect him deeply and convince him to change from being a miserable old humbug to a man filled with love for others. He experiences a joy that he hasn’t felt for a long time.
All and all, it is a wonderful story that really manages to catch the Christmas spirit. Even some of the more criticized adaptations are able to capture a little of the magic of the story, a testament to how incredible “A Christmas Carol” truly is. It is definitely worth seeing in some form or another, whether for the first time or for the thousandth, to fill you full of Christmas cheer.
“Humbug High” Plays at La Quinta High
The curtains roll back and we see the narrator, played by Julia Castro ‘18. She stands in the middle of the stage with a giant book, joined by a small choir who occasionally would speak in unison to emphasize her narration. I specifically remember being super impressed by the clock part: the narrator would speak and then pause, and the choir would say a number, increasing incrementally.
This culminated with the narrator saying, “And the clock struck…” with the choir finally shouting “…twelve.” The timing was really well done. After the narration, the main character Eddie Scrooge, played by Aiden Wilson ‘20 entered the stage and yelled at some people for not getting hall passes.
This was Wilson’s first performance, who totally killed it as Eddie, a grumpy 17-year-old with a cold and bitter heart. It was easy to instantly hate his character, but in a good way — highlighting Wilson’s convincing performance.
Cut back to the kids getting yelled at for their lack of hall passes. They were all great and worked super well together, but Julian Perez ’21, who played Leland, stood out as one of the favorite characters of the entire show. I was cracking up the entire time just because of how sassy and sarcastic he was to everyone. I loved it. Shout out to Perez, you were awesome.
In this time, we’re also introduced to Bonnie, played by Hawkview’s Amanda Wilkerson ‘18. Bonnie is super bubbly and fun. Eddie continues being a huge jerk to everyone, talking about how poor people are only poor because they’re lazy. The absurdity of Wilson’s character was what made it hilarious; he was so evil and unlikable that it looped back around and became super funny. Or maybe we’re just terrible people for laughing.
After the school scene, the lights dimmed and the stagehands turned it from a school to a house with a bed in under a minute. I’m always super impressed at their ability to move stuff around really, really quickly. Good job, stagehands, you guys don’t get enough credit.
Now that Eddie’s in his room, he’s greeted by Madge, played by Jasmine Garcia ‘19. Madge’s costume design was impressive, given that Madge was a ghostly lunch lady covered in giant chains. She tells Edwin that he’s gonna be visited by three ghosts, you know the drill.
So the clock strikes, and Yessika Aguilar ‘19 enters the stage as the Ghost of Christmas Past. She shows Eddie the past, where he sees baby Eddie, played by fellow reporter Drew Patterson ‘20. Eddie sees his young self having a good time decorating a Christmas tree and is super confused because he doesn’t really remember what fun is.
So, the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Eddie his younger self rehearsing for a school play. They do this weird dance called the jelly dance and Wilson jumps up and down and excitedly shouts, “Yaaaaayyy!” There was an awkward pause after his interjection, which was broken by a grown man in the front row shrieking with laughter — causing the entire crowd to laugh as well. The crowd quickly recovered and the play continued as planned.
After the elementary school play, Eddie is shown his parents splitting up, which was actually heartwrenching. The sadness and desperation in Patterson’s voice was super upsetting and painful. I don’t like being sad most of the time, but I was impressed with their ability to destroy my soul with his acting ability.
Eddie goes back to sleep and is greeted by the Ghost of Christmas Present. Played by Tai Garcia ‘20, the ghost looked super hilarious and was just really bizarre. The “grab my robe” joke didn’t have the same effect on me after the third time, but I quite enjoyed watching Garcia’s performance. He was definitely an audience favorite and had the whole crowd laughing.
He shows Eddie the present, where everyone is aggressively roasting him, while Wilson stands there with a sad look on his face. He is also shown Bonnie’s home, where he finds out that she is super poor and is eating leftovers from her mom’s catering job for dinner. Nice one, Eddie. Eddie obviously feels terrible when he realizes that maybe poor people aren’t poor because they’re lazy. Hooray for character development! Despite her situation, Bonnie is still super positive and peppy, which makes Eddie feel even worse.
Eddie goes back to bed once again (at this point the single night is like three days long), and, as expected, is greeted by Mikayla Fazzone ‘21, playing the Ghost of Christmas Future — but is credited as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in the program. The ghost (of Christmas Future) walks Eddie off the stage while the stagehands set up a tombstone.
In this scene, Eddie is dead and everyone is still roasting him. No one shows up at his funeral and his house gets ransacked. Eddie is confronted by three… things. I guess they were sins? These guys torment Eddie for a little bit and it’s revealed that (gasp) the grave is his. Eddie falls to his knees in horror and begs for his life back. He promises he’ll change and that he’ll live a better life.
Eddie wakes up in his bed a final time and realizes that he’s alive. Eddie realizes the hurt he has caused and discovers that he can still live a happy life. Due to these revelations, Eddie returns home to undo the wrongs he’s committed and live a more joyful, loving life.
He attends a Christmas party and donates like $80,000 to charity, then dances the watusi with Bonnie. It’s silly, but it’s cute and a happy ending. We were all left smiling and happy with the conclusion.
It was obvious the whole cast had great chemistry and were passionate about the performance, working hard to make the show fun and memorable.