The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

'A Christmas Carol' is a tale that never grows old


December 11, 2019

Long years ago, before my brothers and I had yet learned to read, three of the most-used books in our house were these: Hallmark’s “Poetry for Pleasure,” Margaret de Angeli’s “Book of Nursery and Mother Goose Rhymes,” and a tattered and torn 1929 edition of “The Elson Readers: Book Eight.”

It was on page 149 of the last one where we were first introduced by our father to Ebenezer Scrooge.

In sessions that spanned multiple nights (we three small children were spellbound, but we were also wriggly) our father read aloud to us Charles Dickens’ timeless classic, “A Christmas Carol.”

It’s a tale that never grows old, watching how visits from an assortment of ghosts transform Scrooge — “A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” — into “as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man” as anyone had ever seen.

I can’t think of a single story that has been retold more often and in more mediums than this one, and it warmed my heart to hear Charles Dickens and Ebenezer are even on the curriculum this week for all of Portales’ first and second graders.

Better yet, according to Melody Gallagher, Portales High School’s drama teacher, these James Elementary students will be the first official audience for the Portales High School production of “A Christmas Carol” on Thursday morning in the PHS Performing Arts Center.

All of the rest of us are invited to attend the two evening performances scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Gallagher said she has 45 students involved in every aspect of this production from those you will see onstage to those running lights and sound, helping with costumes and set changes, and keeping the fog machines rolling to add just the right amount of spooky (but not too spooky) ambience.

I sat in on the cheery chaos of the first dress rehearsal Friday evening and enjoyed every moment.

This particular telling of “A Christmas Carol” is led by an onstage narrator reading from an over-sized storybook.

Done in one act with a run time of less than an hour, there is enough action to keep an audience involved, but not enough to be too scary for small kids. That, combined with a 6 p.m. curtain time, makes it a great option for family holiday entertainment.

Tickets may be procured at the door — $7 for adults, and $5 for students and military with ID; children 5 and under are free.

“The students have worked so hard on this,” Gallagher said. “They’re putting all of their effort into it.”

Even old Ebenezer Scrooge would be proud.

Betty Williamson is searching for her Victorian bonnet. Reach her at:

[email protected]


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