Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol - December 15 - December 17, 2023

Central Bucks High School West

 End Notes 



After having taught, directed and coached kids for over 20 years, I was excited when the CB West Theatre Director position became available. I was admittedly daunted by the notion of taking on what I knew would be a 40+ hour a week job (it has been more like 50) with another "day" job. But my family knew where my heart was and urged me to seize the opportunity.

In light of recent history, the performing arts department here had clearly suffered some trauma and was struggling through lots of unexpected changes. It's never easy being that  new leader walking into an existing organization, with new ideas and a new approach, especially under these circumstances. But transparency, connectivity and inclusivity are worthy pursuits and ones that staff, parents and kids seemed ready to embrace.

I felt strongly, especially as the new director, that the kids should get a show in 2023. For music and theatre kids (just like my own)  the stage, band and choir rooms become your home away from home, a place to discover who you are and what humanity is all about. It's a place where you make genuine friendships. (I'm a fourth generation thespian... so perhaps I'm a bit biased.)

I also knew I wanted a show that was deep that tackled themes of loss, loneliness, separation and even fear, so that we could all find a path forward together. I wanted a piece with an emotional arc that would set the cast on a journey punctuated with forgiveness, understanding and redemption all through the power of human love and kindness.

So in the wee hours of the morning  in my 1803 office (yes really) just like Crotchit himself  in his cell, I  set to work on a new play adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol that would keep the story true to the timeless original but present it in a whole new way through the convention of a Greek chorus, or in our case a group of Dickens' carolers.  I then poured over dozens if not hundreds of contemporary, indie and traditional songs to find musical pieces that I felt would bring this script and vision to life for a modern audience.

Songs by artists like Sara Bareilles , Clair de Lune  and Bob Geldof  don't just coexist alongside traditional carols but are brought to life in dance and story. The play, songs and dances intertwine to drive home these deeply human themes.  Thankfully Abigail Marchione (Music Director) Kristine Flynn (Choreographer) and Suzanne Safran (Producer) saw the vision and despite an exceedingly short rehearsal period jumped into the deep end with me.

I knew this adaptation would need to feature a large cast, and I wanted to offer opportunities for all who wanted to be a part of this ambitious project. It would require a willingness to create art; something brand new. It would require a level of trust and a willingness to accept ambiguity. Twenty nine brave performers chose to join the creative team on this journey, and together with our glorious crew members, brand new Tech Director Joe Schiwall, my nephew Brian and husband. Albert's late night set construction plans, our wonderfully intuitive musicians, especially student Brandon Horak who on day one seized the opportunity and began transposing and arranging songs for the cast, and the generous help of an amazing team of parents, we are proud to bring this original production to the stage for the first time ever.

I'm so impressed with these teenagers, who despite a scathingly short rehearsal period wrought with conflicts and obstacles,  embraced me and this production with their whole hearts.

Just like in Ebenezer's redemption tale, never underestimate the power of love and kindness to create a new beginning.

I  am happy to begin right here.


- Claudine Quigley-Piechotta, Director, Playwright

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