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Dickens' classic 'Carol' wraps up run

KAREN HAWLEY PHOTOGRAPHY - Alex Hugo, left, plays Tiny Tim and Brook Mackaness plays Ebenezer Scrooge in Corbett Children's Theater production of 'A Christmas Carol.'Sometimes it takes a nice guy to act mean.

Just ask Brook Mackaness a junior at Corbett High School. Mackaness plays Ebenezer Scrooge in the stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famed 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol,” which Corbett Children’s Theater presents this month.

In real life, Mackaness, 16, tries to be as nice as possible to people, but having played “mean” roles before with CCT, he’s come to realize he’s really good at acting really bad.KAREN HAWLEY PHOTOGRAPHY - Jake Byrne, left foreground, plays the young Scrooge talking to his lost love, Belle, played by Jessie Turner, as Brook Mackaness, playing the older Scrooge in nightcap, looks on.

“A lot of it is in the voice,” he says of his characterization. “You can’t be mean with a nice sounding voice. You have to add some gruff and real bite to your words.”

Add a few scowls here and there, and you can also modulate your voice from loud to soft, but still sound nasty either way.

“You can also be mean sounding and quiet,” he says. “You work in different volumes and intensity.”

“A Christmas Carol” tells the story of Mackaness’ character, the bitter old miser Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kinder man after visitations by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley as well as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.

Corbett Children’s Theater will present “A Christmas Carol” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, Dec. 8-10, and at 1 p.m. Dec. 10, in The Chapel, 27132 S.E. Stark St., Troutdale.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $9.50 for students and seniors.

For more information, call 971-271-3255, or visit

Timeless tale

“A Christmas Carol” remains a beloved seasonal story because it’s the story of one man’s dramatic transformation.KAREN HAWLEY PHOTOGRAPHY - Brook Mackaness, left, plays Scrooge haunted by the Ghost of the Christmas Future, played by Alex Turner, in Corbett Childrens Theater's 'A Christmas Carol,' which wraps up its run Dec. 10.

“He changes so drastically in one night … from a grouchy old man to the kindest, nicest person ever,” Mackaness says.

That’s a point echoed by Jordan Ziese, 18, a senior at Corbett High, who plays Marley as well as Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge’s housekeeper.

“It’s an endless story of redemption,” she says. “Everyone has walked past a person they could have helped and not done anything about it. Marley is a reminder that I should do something before it’s too late.”

Indeed, unlike those who go to their grave lacking concern for others — or for the fate of their own souls — Scrooge is literally scared straight by the ghosts who haunt him.

“It’s fun being scared on stage by these creepy ghosts,” Mackaness says.

Ziese observes that playing one of those ghosts is interesting, because Marley — chained and tormented in the next life by the greed and indifference to others that marked his past life — is so desperate.

“If he can save his buddy Scrooge it may make his own life worthwhile, but he only has one shot to do it,” she says.KAREN HAWLEY PHOTOGRAPHY - Brook Mackaness as Scrooge, left, meets with the Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Wesley Dick.

The play, which debuted last weekend, was a hit with audiences, even earning a standing ovation the night of Dec. 3. Ziese adds that she may have played Marley almost too well at the Saturday matinee performance.

“I scared a little kid, and I felt bad about that,” she says. “But it also meant I was doing my job well.”

As for Mackaness, playing Scrooge has inspired him to look into other Dickens’ tales, like “Oliver Twist.”

“After this I really want to get more interested in all his other works,” he says.

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