Black Swan troupe features several East County students
by: Contributed photo Erik Scott plays the ghost of Jacob Marley who visits Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Blake Dunbar, in Black Swan Youth Theatre’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol.’

This weekend and next, three ghosts will visit you - that is if you plan to see Black Swan Youth Theatre's 'A Christmas Carol.'

The play will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursdays, Dec. 1, 8; Fridays, Dec. 2, 9; and Saturday, Dec. 3, at GSI Community Center, 1493 N.E. Cleveland Ave.

Charles Dickens' classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's redemption may hit home with audiences in this economy, given how greed and corruption have exacerbated the ill effects of the recession, notes Susan Scott, director.

'You could put Scrooge in the place of corporations,' she says. 'People are willing to sell themselves for money and power like they always have.'

Scott says 32 students from Gresham, Corbett, Fairview, Damascus and Troutdale, ranging in age from 7-18, are part of the production, which includes Deanna Fitzwater, 17, a Barlow High School senior.

Fitzwater plays three characters including a Cockney laundress.

'Her character's so different from my own that it's fun to play,' Fitzwater says. 'She steals things. She's quite the dodgy character, kind of the opposite of me. I like it because it's so challenging.'

Like Scott, Fitzwater says Dickens' tale is timeless.

'The message is always something that can apply to everyone,' she says. 'Greed is not going to get you anywhere and being kind to everyone, especially around Christmas, is always the best way to be.'

Breaking up hard to do

Erica Brady, 16, attends Mt. Hood Community College's early college program and went to Centennial High last year. She plays Belle, Scrooge's former fiance, who breaks up with him over his miserly ways.

'It's kind of a sad scene,' she says. 'Even now it's terrible to break off an engagement, but back then it was almost unheard of. I love this man, and he once loved me.'

She adds that she has had to work hard on her role.

'Because it's sad I can't be out there dancing and singing to prepare myself,' she says. 'I had to get in a mood where everything is sad.'

Brady is not sad, however, that she's finally discovered 'A Christmas Carol' after only being dimly aware of its basic outline.

'I can't believe I've been missing out on this for the last 16 years of my life,' she says. 'It reminds you of what the holidays are all about - giving and receiving joy.'

A lifetime of roles

Susan Scott's son Erik, 15, a Barlow sophomore, plays four roles - the ghost of Jacob Marley, Scrooge's former business partner; a young Scrooge; Old Joe and Topper.

'So I go from being a dead man to a young man to a middle age man to an old man,' Scott says. 'All have different accents, walks, different attitudes.'

His favorite role?

'Probably Old Joe - he's kind of like a slimy old man involved in the black market.'

Like his fellow thespians, Erik believes audiences in 2011 will enjoy a staging of Dickens' 1843 novella.

'There's still Scrooges in the world,' he says. 'Every character is very much stock characters that apply to our lives.'

'Christmas Carol'

WHO: Black Swan Youth Theatre

WHAT: Presents 'A Christmas Carol'

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, 8; Fridays, Dec. 2, 9; Saturday, Dec. 3.

WHERE: GSI Community Center, 1493 N.E. Cleveland Ave.

COST: $7 students and seniors, $8 adults. Group rates available.

INFO: Reservations at 503-558-0466 or

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