Shawnee takes a dramatic twist for fall play

Essie Scrooge, a fashion designer who is an almost-exact carbon copy of Ebenezer, is about to be portrayed by two Shawnee students for the high school's fall play.

The fashionable, often brash replica of the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge, Essie, is getting the star treatment she seeks in Shawnee High School’s production of “The Life and Times of Essie Scrooge.”

The play, written by director Marc Rohm, is a modern adaptation of Charles Dickens’ popular novel “A Christmas Carol,” in which the female Scrooge carries much of the same traits as Ebenezer and goes through the trials and tribulations of being a fashion designer…while also offering harsh opinions of other people and lacking in compassion for others.

The play pulls in many aspects of Dickens’ novel. Essie is visited by a ghost of her past, Marlo, and is guided through many of her life events by Moonbeam. Both Marlo and Moonbeam add comedic relief to the dramatic play.

Showings for the play are Nov. 14 through 16 at 7 p.m., along with a matinee showing at 2 p.m. on just Nov. 16. Tickets are paid for in cash only and are $12 for adults, $7 for students. Box office opens one hour before showtime. Visit LRHSD.org/Shawnee for more information.

The title character’s part is portrayed by both senior Emily Bosco and sophomore Hunter LaPlante on different showings.

“Since the past years have been heavy with comedy, this year is different because it’s more drama,” Bosco said. “I think that people who’ve come to our past plays will be surprised to see that there’s parts where it gets sad and dark, and we feel for the characters.

Bosco said in her first time as being the lead, the part carries an immense amount of responsibility and is enjoyable because she’s in character throughout the entire production. She added “Essie” is her favorite play to date largely due to the cast.

For LaPlante, playing a lead as a sophomore, she said Essie is the polar opposite of her, as she seeks to make people happy, where Essie is portrayed as a harsh person.

It’s exciting to get into someone else’s shoes and play someone that I probably wouldn’t play anywhere else,” LaPlante said.

In preparation for their lead parts, both Bosco and LaPlante said they were given one weekend to prepare a monologue for their audition, leading to long nights rehearsing.

LaPlante said she recited lines during her session and would add in different emotions as she’s going along to give those judging a better gauge on her acting abilities. Bosco didn’t speak on her exact audition, but recalled “locking herself in her room” to memorize her piece.

The duo’s – and the rest of the cast’s – hard work is due to pay off as Nov. 14 nears and excitement continues to bubble for the play where the audience, as Bosco said, will be able to see the great deal of chemistry the students have with one another.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun because I feel like everyone in the cast has all grown so close together and that makes the show very special,” LaPlante added.

For a dramatic production that includes snippets of comedy, crying and connection to the characters, the students are carrying a few surprises up their sleeves.

We always like to throw in little things here and there, especially on closing nights,” Bosco said. “If you want to see something different, come closing night, it’s usually really fun.”