Dinner and Dickens: A taste of Victorian drama with Upper Cape
This December, the cafeteria at Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School will serve as a portal to Victorian Era England as drama students perform “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.
Attendees will be transported through time as guests at Fezzwig’s Party in this immersive dinner theater show.
Not only will the audience be treated to the singing, dancing and acting talents of Upper Cape, but also to those of: the carpentry and electric students, who will help with building the set; the cosmetology students, who will help with hair and makeup; and the technical students, who will be working behind the scenes.
In addition, the culinary department, led by Chef and Instructor Joseph Ellia, will serve a four-course meal to the audience of 200 people for each of the three nights the production will be performed.
On the menu is a butternut apple soup with sage cream as well as a holiday salad loaded with mixed greens, cranberries, poached pear and cheese. There will be three entree choices: beef wellington, roasted duck breast and spinach ricotta lasagna. For dessert, attendees will be served a sticky toffee pudding.
Those interested in attending can inform the kitchen of any allergies when they purchase a ticket.
The show will take place Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. as well as on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 4 p.m.
Tickets are $50 and must be purchased in advance at http://www.onthestage.tickets/. Select “Shows” from the top menu and then the drop down option “Current Production Search” to find tickets now.
English teacher Robert Genereau, who is serving as instructor for the drama program, said the show was originally going to take place in the school’s restaurant, but with how fast tickets were selling, he and Ellia realized a bigger space would be necessary.
Genereau said he was inspired to do another dinner theater show after the success of the program’s production of “Murder Café.”
He said none of the scripts he read connected with him until he imagined the ghosts of Christmas past and present leading Scrooge around the tables of diners.
Genereau said he asked Ellia to make a Christmas menu and “he absolutely knocked it out of the park.”
Genereau explained how he chose a traditional retelling of “A Christmas Carol” that called for a “very minimal set.”
“What I liked about the script is it allowed for spots to bring really traditional Christmas carols into the play, and so we have a mix of just that very classic retelling with some beautiful Christmas carols being sung by our kids,” Genereau said.
He said the program will be renting the costumes for the production.
“I wanted the kids in the costumes just to be beautiful and just really shine,” Genereau said. “We really want to tell the story through character and I think the costumes really lend to that.”
“We're super excited about the show as a whole,” he added. “It's just a really fun holiday experience.”
“I coach sports as well here, but I think this is so important because not every kid plays sports and this gives them an opportunity to do the things that they love,” he said. “For some kids, this is their reason for coming to school — whatever's going on in their lives — they know they can come here for a couple hours, have fun with their friends and be creative and artistic.”
Of the 17 students in the play, three come from Wareham.
The three students said while they are excited for the upcoming production, it has been a bit stressful trying to memorize everything.
Senior Abby Morrison, who plays Sparist, Scrooge’s butler, said she highlights her script to help her memorize lines.
Morrison, Freshman Sage Brophy, who plays Tiny Tim, and Senior Molly Petty, who is serving as stage manager, agreed remembering the last line or word of the person speaking before is typically helpful in remembering parts for cast members.
Morrison said even with the stress of putting on a production like this, “You get a good outcome out of it, and you're spending time with people that you really care about — that you love dearly.”
Brophy said this will be her first production at the school and it has been “nerve wracking.”
However, she said she is looking forward to having her older brother come and see the show.
“I'm so excited,” Brophy said. “I haven't seen him in a while and I’m excited that we get to show him what we've done.”
As seniors, Morrison and Petty agreed it has been a great experience seeing the freshmen grow into their roles.
Petty said, “You feel like you've accomplished something good and it's stable and you know that they're going to take care of this club.”
In regard to the show as a whole, she said, “Everybody in this show — in this club — they always shine bright.”
“There's no stopping that,” she added. “You get into this club and you think, ‘Oh, I'm terrified,’ or, ‘I'm scared. I don't know what I'm doing’ — you step on that stage for the first time and you're like, ‘I know exactly what I need to do,’ and you shine, you smile, you laugh, you have the best time of your life and it is an amazing feeling.”