The Wildcat Theatre production of A Christmas Carol: High School had the crowd at times booing and hissing the modern-day version of Ebeneezer Scrooge, while at other times clutching ribcages to ease the pain of gut-busting laughter.
With obvious dedication and hard work, Wildcat Theatre pulled off a polished, professional production that gave no evidence of being a “high school” piece of work, even though everything from costume design to sound production, onstage acting to backstage technical support, was all performed by students from William E. Hay Secondary Campus.
The play, a modern-day reworking of Charles Dickens’ well-known tale, “A Christmas Carol,” pits Meredith Priestly, a rich mean-girl left to her own devices by her jet-setting parents, against the kinder, gentler students of her school. As leader of the cheerleading squad, and playing the lead role of Juliet in the production of Romeo and Juliet, Meredith Priestly uses the weight of her bank account and her unpleasant attitudes to push people around.
The character of Meredith Priestly, adeptly played by Hannah McKay, is easy to immediately dislike, just as her “best friend” Melissa Barclay, played by Avery Marko, is so easy to like as a kind and easy-going person, often the victim of Priestly’s beastly behaviour.
That all changes when Mean-Girl Priestly is visited by a former Mean-Girl, now a ghost, who warns her that she’s got this one last chance to change her ways. And it goes as predicted, with Priestly having visions of her past, her present, and her future over three visitations over three nights.
Visitations that are fraught with hilarity, but also touch on some of Priestly’s shortcomings, and what created them — like the distance from her ever-absent parents. By the time the third visitation, this time by Death, is complete, the nasty, mean Meredith Priestly is redeemed, and becomes a kinder and more considerate individual towards not just her friends, but everyone, including her teachers.
Wildcat Theatre put on three showings of the play, all at the Stettler Performing Arts Centre, between Thursday, Dec.3 to Saturday, Dec. 5. The Dec. 4 performance was a dinner theatre evening, with attendees enjoying a catered dinner in the school’s cafeteria prior to the play itself.
While none of the three shows were completely sold out, most of the seats were full and attendance was high, the performance bringing in more than just family and friends.