‘Christmas Carol’ unites a varied cast


“A Christmas Carol” will be presented at the RAAC Community Theatre, 310 Gay St., Washington, on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 3 p.m.

Admission for those age 16 and above is $15, for those 15 and younger, $5. Early reservation is suggested to guarantee a place. Call 540-675-3193 or e-mail bsmah@stoneledge.net.

The novels and stories of Charles Dickens are filled with memorable characters from all walks of life and in complex networks of relationship.

In an example of life imitating art, the 25 actors plus a sizable production crew for the Dec. 10-12 RAAC Community Theatre production of “A Christmas Carol” are similarly varied and interrelated.

The ages of actors in the production represent every decade from zero to 100 except for the 30s. Veteran actor Norm Getsinger, who is over 90, plays a memorable and agile Scrooge, while the angelic child chorus anchors the first decade.

The past and current vocations of the actors when they are not on stage include diplomat, brewer, business consultant, educator, attorney, career military, musician, executive secretary, jazz singer, HVAC technician, dancer, artist, policy wonk, preschool teacher, painter, environmental expert, carpenter, electrician, non-profit director, and computer guru. A number of the troupe are students, from grammar school to graduate school.

The past theatrical experience of participants ranges from the few who have acted extensively, including professional gigs in Washington, D.C. and summer stock, through a number who have appeared in various local productions, to those children and adults who are appearing on stage for the first time.

Norm Getsinger (center) plays Scrooge in the RAAC Community Theatre, where the diverse cast blows off a little steam at the end of a recent rehearsal. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.

Within the cast and production crew are an amazing network of familial relationships: father, mother, son, daughter, grandfather, aunt, sister, brother, husband, wife. For many, the familial connection adds a special dimension. Says one participant, “I’m happy to be doing this, especially because I am sharing the experience with my son.”

In addition, a number of cast members identify others as “like a brother,” “not blood relations, but might as well be,” and “like a mother to me.” There are also special non-family relationships such as student-teacher, mentor, and employee-employer, to say nothing of many friendships, some new and some of decades’ duration.

At the same time, there are members of the company who are new to the area and joined the production knowing virtually no one else.

What is impressive is the way in which working on the production has incorporated everyone into a new whole that is a unity rather than a collection. It is obvious at rehearsals that participants are having a very good time. Says one of the young performers, “The cast is like a big family. We are all friends.”

The company hopes to play to full houses for all three performances of this always-timely holiday favorite.