Fall Drama Entertains with A Christmas Carol

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On December 6, Seton Hall Prep performed the annual Fall Drama to a crowd of family and friends after performing it to the students the day before. After many weeks of preparation, the unique rendition of the classic play A Christmas Carol was acted out upon the stage of the Bayley Seton Auditorium. Under Mrs. Neglia’s leadership, all the actors and actresses produced a drama that entertained the many people that attended it.

With Thanksgiving being late this year, the fall drama was produced an entire month later than last year. It was even performed after Thanksgiving, something that is rarely done at the school. With the date set in early December, Mrs. Neglia thought that it would be a perfect year to do a Christmas play as the fall drama. The decision to go with A Christmas Carol was an easy one for her: “It’s a story I love. It just lends itself so well to being a stage production.” This would be the second time in which the school would perform this classic. Because she was anxious the first time around, she spent the entire summer creating a unique adaptation to the play that was ultimately performed this year.

Many students from Seton Hall Prep performed in the drama and helped it come alive on stage. Some of the major roles were Ben Ferrara ‘22 as Fred, Will Kennedy ‘21 as Jacob Marley, Lyrik Harvey ‘21 as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Kyle Washington ‘21 as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Joaquin Suriel ‘21 as young Scrooge, and Alexander Giannoglou ‘20 as Bob Cratchit. These students as well as the ensemble and actresses/actors from other schools all played an integral part in the making of the drama. The lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge was played by Nicholas Rauschenberger ‘20. When choosing the man for this role, Mrs. Neglia knew that he was the perfect student: “I have done work with Nick since his freshman year in C-tonians and in past musicals and dramas. I know Nick’s strengths and he was able to present such a great performance in the character he played last year in All My Sons. The people who went to the evening performances saw something really remarkable, and I certainly knew he had it in him and would be a great Scrooge.”

Although all the students were certainly great actors, practice was necessary for the performance to be completed. They started rehearsals the first full week of school in September, and Mrs. Neglia attempted to spread the rehearsals out to accommodate each student’s schedule. Even with the stress that comes with the first few weeks of school, she and the performers agreed it would be best to frontload practices since the Thanksgiving break would inevitably be an issue for most students. When explaining the schedule, she stated: “I tried to do it in a way that would prevent kids from having to say that they can’t do this because they are doing some other things. We scheduled two rehearsals a week and in the beginning, it was relegated to acts so that if you were not in those acts, you might have an entire week off.” She stressed the importance of allowing students to act in the play, while also taking care of their academics, their other responsibilities, and having a social life outside of it.

Even with a schedule planned out ahead of time, other obstacles got in the way of rehearsing for the drama. With two snow days the week before the performance, Mrs. Neglia and the actors/actresses had to work extra hard to have it done on time. She even stated that she was not surprised by the challenge: “It’s sort of to be expected in any kind of live performance. It’s called Murphy’s Law: If some can go wrong, it will.” The hardest part about the snow was for the tech people. They did not have the same kinds of opportunities the actors had because they had not been practicing since September. As to how they were able to get it done in a such a short period of time, Mrs. Neglia stated: “They were able to just stick to their guns and do what they knew that had to do. They were able to make some quick last-minute changes because they were so confident and sure and well-rehearsed in what they were doing.” Mrs. Neglia had high praise for the tech crew, people that are not generally noticed for their hard work and importance in running a drama: “They are a remarkable group of guys and working with them has really been a pleasure.” Like Mrs. Neglia, the tech group, as well as the entire cast, do not settle and want everything to be the best that it can be for the audience; therefore, only having two days to rehearse rather than four was just a minor setback.

Looking ahead to the spring musical, Mr. Neglia, who retired last year, will still be the musical director with Mrs. Neglia being the assistant director. Although they have an idea of what the musical will be, she was not able to announce it due to the fact that the company that owns the rights to the musical has not yet responded to them. “It would be wrong to say this is what we are going to do, especially if we find out we can’t do it.” She was extremely disappointed that she was not able to announce it at the drama because they wanted to start auditions before Christmas. She hopes to know the musical before or during the break so that they can start auditions immediately following it on the sixth of January. The musical will be performed before Easter, which is earlier than normal, on April 2, 3, and 4.