The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, December, 2008 -- a staged reading

For our fourth winter staged reading to benefit the Hall's Restoration Fund, the Players presented The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge by Mark Brown, under the direction of Dorrie Mitchell.  It is one year after Scrooge has been "transformed" by the three Spirits.  But now, it seems he has regressed.  Scrooge is suing the ghost of Jacob Marley and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future for kidnapping, breaking and entering, emotional distress, etc.  So on Christmas Eve, the trial commences.

The misanthropic Judge Standfield R. Pearson (Bruce Showalter) complains to Mr. Connolly, the Bailiff (Joe Soucy), about another trial with that irritating defense attorney, Solomon Rothschild. Scrooge (Robert Lunde) glowers at the first defense witness Bob Cratchit (Mark Depathy) as he is examined by Rothschild (Dana T. Ring) about Scrooge's character before and after the Day In Question.
Ever the diplomat, Bob is loath to describe Scrooge in anything but charitable terms, which infuriates his wife (Katherine Nowakowski). Her verbal attacks on Scrooge cause the judge to have her removed by Mr. Connolly, and her attacks become physical.
Scrooge cross-examines his nephew, Fred (Timothy Glynn), about his Christmas visits.  Why only once a year? He also asks socialite Sara Wainwright (Margaret Moore) if his all-year taxes help the poor more than her once-a-year charity drives. The Ghost of Jacob Marley (Mark Depathy) testifies that all the trauma that Scrooge suffered was necessary for his future welfare.
The Ghost of Christmas Past (Vanda Doyle) is accused by Scrooge of being less demure than she appears. The shade of Scrooge's sister, Fan (Darlene LaPointe), speaks of Ebenezer's childhood.  For eleven years their father never let Ebenezer come home for Christmas.
But most upsetting to Scrooge is the testimony of Belle (Trish Urso).  Once engaged to Scrooge, she is now married to someone else.  She claims she released him from his promise of marriage because he loved money more than her.  He claims he never asked for release and that she essentially walked out on him.  The judge orders a recess.
Back in session, Scrooge recalls his nephew and claims that Fred's party game comparing Scrooge with a bear was slanderous.  Rothschild counters that it was a game done only in the spirit of fun. Rothschild questions Mrs. Dilber (Jane Maulucci) on why she stole Scrooge's possesions after he died (or would have died if not for his Transformation).
The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come (Timothy Glynn) is called.  Since his speech is otherworldly, he has an interpreter (Joan Perkins-Smith). The Ghost testifies that when Scrooge saw his own dead body, he fell to his knees and promised to keep Christmas in his heart forever.
But Scrooge claims using that body was excessive.  Although he never saw it, he is urged by the Ghost to pull back the sheet. Scrooge is too unnerved to do it.  Even the judge cannot.  Mr. Connolly removes the sheet, but the body turns out to be Jacob!
The judge, Scrooge, and even his own lawyer demand to know the meaning of this.  Jacob, however, refuses to talk. The Ghost of Christmas Past is brought back to explain.  For a Transformation, using the subject's own dead body is against the rules.  Jacob felt Scrooge wouldn't respond otherwise, so he forced the other Ghosts to fake Scrooge's body.
The judge is incensed.  He orders summary judgement for Scrooge and orders the Christmas Ghosts to be heavily fined and immediately terminated.  Rothschild pleads for the Spirits to be able to continue their valuable service.  Scrooge proposes a bargain.
Scrooge will drop the charges if the Spirits will work all year instead of just Christmas Eve.  The other 364 days need their help, too.  And the money will be used to start a fund for the poor.  The Spirits agree to the terms and all are invited back to Scrooge's home for a marvelous Christmas party.

Jerry Zalewski photos
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Other Theatre links:

In The Spotlight, Inc.
Pillow Talking—"He Said/She Said"
The Connecticut Callboard
Connecticut Gilbert and Sullivan Society

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