Fairy tale characters give twist to Dickens' Christmas classic

Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade pupils at Garrett Elementary School will present A Christmas Carol With a Twist Dec. 13 at the school. Shown rehearsing the play are Kaitlyn Odom (front row, from left), Logan McElroy and Blake Jones; and Laura Peebles (back row), Kyla Tyler, Devante Stallings, Justin Sassard and Tristan Wells.

After discovering that her pupils didn't know some classic fairy tales, Maria Elser decided to rectify that in an unusual manner.


"In my class, we were doing storytelling, and 90 percent of my class didn't know the story of Hansel and Gretel," said Mrs. Elser, an arts infusion specialist at T. Harry Garrett Elementary School. She wrote the script for this year's Christmas production of A Christmas Carol With a Twist .

The play will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at the school, 1100 Eisenhower Drive. Admission is free.

Instead of the traditional ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, there will be characters from other tales, including Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood.

Intertwining the tales gives the pupils some lessons in fairy tales and the framework of Dickens' story of a calloused old man whose heart melts at Christmas because of the visits by the ghosts.

Logan McElroy, a fifth-grader who plays the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, said he wasn't familiar with A Christmas Carol until this year. His participation in the play sparked his interested in seeing the original version.

"I'm going to see the play on the 7th," he said of the Augusta Players' rendition.

The Garrett production features about 60 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders. In addition to the storybook characters, there are dancers and other actors who participate.

"I like it," said Justin Sassard, a third-grader who plays Hansel. "I get to act, and do a lot of emotions. I like the clothes. I've never had a speaking part before."

Before the production at 5:30 p.m., there will be a Victorian holiday fair. According to Mrs. Elser, the school will turn into a "typical school from the 1800s, with costumes and lots of fun events."

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.



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