NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Curtains close on ‘A Christmas Carol’

In spite of many obstacles, the final season of a Christmas Carol was beautifully executed by the cast and crew and I was glad to have had the opportunity to see it before it ended. This was the first year that I have seen the Christmas Carol here, though I have seen several other shows by the Top Notch Players and am always impressed with their work.
The audience that day included some of my own family members, a group of five young cousins, 13 year old Kailyn Martorilli and her younger sister Rachel from Waltham, siblings Nathan Allen and Ashley Lacatoure from Leominster and Faith Briere from Brockton. Every one of them enjoyed the show immensely and were sad to find out that we will not be able to make this show part of our family’s tradition.
The show was originally planned as a one time event, but it was so well received that a second year was added, then a third and so on.
For the past several years, each year was expected to be the “last”, according to Theater director Jim Murphy, who played a very believable and entertaining Scrooge.
The end of this show coincides with the retirement of professor and theater coordinator, Susan Sanders, who is planning to retire in May.
This Charles Dickens classic has been cleverly adapted to be portrayed with limited budget and limited space for set and costume changes, so it relies heavily on the quality of the acting itself.
With a cast and crew of over 40 people, including children, this production must have required a tremendous amount of skill to orchestrate. Given the limited space, cast members are required to enter and exit the theater through the main hallway in order to reach the offices and classrooms that are used as their dressing rooms.
The logistical obstacles faced in producing this event were nowhere in evidence during the show. It was performed in a manner that was professional and enjoyable to all.
Kailyn Martorilli recently participated in a reading of this story at her middle school so she had the invaluable experience of seeing first hand how a story can be adapted to achieve maximum impact on the audience, even when using minimal props or special effects. She and I really enjoyed the way that you can see the same story many times in so many different ways.
Lacatoure and R. Martorilli were both more impressed with the singing quartet comprised of bass Chip Bliss, soprano Hannah Heckman-McKenna, alto Alicia Bucchiere and tenor Christian Doyle.
These singers were brilliantly used to advance the show from one scene to the next, and the quality of their singing really held the attention of the audience. It was a pleasure to hear the way that their voices complimented each other and filled the theater.
Four year old Briere was a little frightened by the ghost of Marley, portrayed by John Budzyna, but was really stuck by Sarah Bird’s beauty as the Ghost of Christmas past.
11 year old Allen, who sat raptly through the entire show, only wanted to know, “Can we see the next show?”
I didn’t tell him the next show is the Vagina Monologues, followed by Avenue Q.
A recording of the show is available on youtube at the following link: or by using keywords “NECC, Christmas Carol.”