hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

Arts & Entertainment

December 10, 2012

'Christmas Carol' takes to the airwaves - on stage


Wilson adapted this play from Orson Welles’ radio version of “A Christmas Carol.” He said he always wanted to explore the idea of a female Scrooge.

“Everyone has seen it over and over again, so you have to keep it fresh and not bore the audience,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why I wrote a female Scrooge.”

Elinor Curtin Cameron of Haverhill plays Ebenita Scrooge. A former English and theater teacher at Haverhill High School, Curtin Cameron said she tried out for the role of Mrs. Fezziwig and was shocked when Wilson called to ask her if she would take the part of Scrooge.

“My first thought was that I hope they have a good costume and make-up artist,” Curtin Cameron laughed.

She said it has been great fun mastering the art of acting out a radio production and such a famous character.

“You are creating a character with your voice,” Curtin Cameron said, noting that there was a time when radio stories were many people’s only form of entertainment. “Your facial expressions have to carry over into your voice.”

Spotlight Playhouse was born four years ago when some local actors got together once a month to read plays and have dinner. The group, which became known as the Haverhill Dramatic Reading Association, decided that Haverhill needed a small, community theater company.

Soon Spotlight Playhouse was founded, bringing the community another option for affordable, quality theater in the Merrimack Valley.

This small group of dedicated actors does everything from painting the set, to making sure the props and costumes are ready, to moving the actual set and props from their Essex Street rehearsal space to their shows’ locations.

Rich O’Shay of Haverhill is in charge of the sound effects for “A Christmas Carol.”

“You have to suspend your disbelief,” said O’Shay as he organized his tools on the table. Spencer Zbitnoff, 9, of Haverhill and his father, Sasha Zbitnoff, play Peter and Bob Cratchit. The pair said they are excited about acting in their first play together. Sasha Zbitnoff performed in Spotlight Playhouse’s spring production of “Titanic.”

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