Over a century after three ghosts fix the cold, miserly heart of Ebenezer Scrooge, he’s been called upon to help someone who is even worse than he was. As it turns out, that someone is his great-great-great granddaughter Emmalina, the central character in the Marion Art Center’s production of Emmalina Scrooge.
Emmalina Scrooge, played by Zoe Pateakos, hates Christmas. She’s even nastier than Ebenezer ever was. “Boy, I thought I was bad,” her great-great-great grandfather declares after he visits her with a warning on Christmas Eve.
Emmalina’s reason for being so miserable is very different than Ebenezer’s, but he still has his hands full with her. Ebenezer manages to impress himself while summoning cracks of thunder and pealing bells, but he’s not able to impress Emmalina, who rolls her eyes at his warnings and goes back to bed. Defeated, he calls in three ghosts: Emmalina’s sister, Jaime (Christmas Past), A Christmas Carol author Charles Dickens (Christmas Present), and the mysterious Ghost of Christmas Future.
Jaime, as it turns out, has been keeping tabs on her sister from the afterlife. “You were such a nice kid,” she tells Emmalina with a raised eyebrow. “Now look at you. When was the last time you did anything nice for anyone?”
Happy as Emmalina is to see her sister, she doesn’t heed her sister’s warnings. Thinking back on a recent Christmas party featuring a piñata, she points out, “I could’ve hit someone with a baseball bat, but I didn’t.”
The Ghost of Christmas Present, too, tries to solve Emmalina’s woe, but finds very little interest on her part. Dickens takes Emmalina to an orphanage on Christmas Eve, where he points out just how much Emmalina has to be thankful for, and what she could do to help others.
Even the plight of orphans can’t warm Emmalina’s stone heart, though. Unruffled, she rebuffs Dickens’ attempts to reason with her and goes back to bed. “Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out,” she tells him. “And get the lights!”
In the end, it’s up to the Ghost of Christmas Present to convince Emmalina to change. Getting through to her might be too big of a challenge, even for that particular ghost, though.
Emmalina Scrooge was written by Cape Cod-based playwright Steph DeFerie, who joined the MAC’s young cast via a Skype call to talk about the play on the night of Monday, December 2. When asked how long it took her to write the play, she estimated that it took about six months. “Not too long,” she added with a laugh.
She gave the cast some words of advice before performances begin: “First of all, it’s supposed to be fun, so have fun!” she told them. “If you forget your lines, just keep talking. After all, the audience doesn’t have a script. They won’t know!”
Emmalina Scrooge will be performed at the Marion Art Center on December 6 and 7, as well as December 13-15. All Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 pm, while the Sunday matinee begins at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $18 for MAC members, $20 for non-members, and $12 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Marion Art Center, over the phone, or online. Visit marionartcenter.org for more information.
By Andrea Ray