Kamehameha Schools Maui Drama Club explored the spooky side of Dickens' classic with its production of "Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story." This tongue-in-cheek retelling featured a fickle fourth wall, bickering narrators, sassy ghosts and ironic renditions of favorite Christmas carols. The simple set and heavy use of narration put Dickens' characters and descriptions in the spotlight.
The students did a great job handling Dickens' tricky language, making the story easy to follow even for audience members new to "A Christmas Carol." The pace was quick, the set changes were smooth, and the show flew by.
The seven narrators (Kelsey Carbonell, Ryan Foree, Leimana Hassett, Amber Kama, Wesley Ki'aha, Alana Song and Ka'io Tubera) took the stage as a tight ensemble that quickly fragmented as disagreements surfaced and attitudes flared. Throughout the show they transitioned seamlessly between storytellers and characters before the audience's eyes.
Shane Borges nailed the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, the crotchety miser who visits his past, present and future to discover the true spirit of Christmas.
Foree was an amusing Ghost of Jacob Marley, Scrooge's long-dead business partner who returns to warn Scrooge of the consequences of greed and selfishness. Foree was also an animated Fezziwig, young Scrooge's generous employer, and an energetic storyteller.
Ki'aha was Bob Cratchitt, Scrooge's enthusiastic employee and loving family man. Kanoa Yap played Scrooge's lighthearted nephew Fred and the diffident young Scrooge.
Hoku Krueger was a feisty Ghost of Christmas Past and an equally spirited Mrs. Cratchitt. Kaili Mossman was the festively clad but mysterious Ghost of Christmas Present and Fezziwig's smiling wife.
Michelle Nakashima was adorable as Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchitt's crippled son, who sang a sweet rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy" to delight his family.
Carbonell played young Scrooge's fianc, Belle, who tearfully breaks their engagement after it becomes clear that money is Scrooge's only love. Hulukoa Nunokawa sang a haunting chorus of "Silent Night" as the beggar Scrooge turns away on Christmas Eve. He was also hilarious, with a spot-on lower class British accent, as the street kid who fetches Scrooge a turkey on Christmas morning.
Kalani Ruidas, Sai Furukawa, Kahulu Nunokawa, Aeris Joseph-Takeshita, Kekoa Yamada, Kapa Gormley, Kamalani Makua, Kupono Aguirre, Emily Kane, Carolynn Krueger, Jolene Kua'ana and Sophia Madera played the other characters, spirits and townspeople.
Andr Morissette designed clever and beautiful costumes. Especially inventive were the costumes of the four ghosts: Jacob Marley wrapped in a boa-constrictor-like chain, Christmas Past shrouded in white gauze, Christmas Present blooming with poinsettia and Christmas Yet to Come obscured behind a grinning black mask.
Guest director William Makozak brought Jerry R. Montoya's adaptation of Charles Dickens' story to life. The production team also included set designer Caro Walker, sound and light designer Camille Romero, poster and program artists Wesley Ki'Aha and Kaili Mossman, sound and light operators Anuhea Arakawa, Kailee Dudoit, Taylor Harris and Casey Krueger and backstage manager Casey Arcangel.
Kamehameha Schools Maui's "Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story" is a fun and pithy retelling of a holiday favorite, with a universal message of redemption, generosity and Christmas cheer.
* "Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story" takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Keopuolani Hale on the Kamehameha Schools Maui campus. Tickets are free. Call 573-7285 for information.