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Pequot Lakes High School: Crowley, Bauer take on new roles in 'A Christmas Carol'

Elizabeth Blaeser as the Ghost of Christmas Present brings Noah Crowley as Scrooge to the Cratchit household during a dress rehearsal for "A Christmas Carol" Monday, Dec. 3, at Pequot Lakes High School. Erin Bormett / Echo Journal 1 / 5
Junior Noah Crowley performs as Scrooge during a dress rehearsal of "A Christmas Carol" Monday, Dec. 3, at Pequot Lakes High School. Erin Bormett / Echo Journal2 / 5
Pequot Lakes senior Zack Bauer, assistant director, looks over the script during a dress rehearsal for "A Christmas Carol" Monday, Dec. 3, at Pequot Lakes High School. Erin Bormett / Echo Journal 3 / 5
Noah Crowley as Scrooge and Alexander Kempka as Jacob Marley perform during a dress rehearsal for "A Christmas Carol" Monday, Dec. 3, at Pequot Lakes High School. Erin Bormett / Echo Journal 4 / 5
Noah Crowley as Scrooge and Liam Ringstrom as Tiny Tim pose at the end of a dress rehearsal for "A Christmas Carol" Monday, Dec. 3, at Pequot Lakes High School. Erin Bormett / Echo Journal 5 / 5

The story of "A Christmas Carol" has been told time and time again in novels, stage and film. For Pequot Lakes High School students Noah Crowley and Zack Bauer, however, their roles in the stage production of this time-honored tradition bring new challenges they weren't expecting.

Crowley, a junior, plays Ebenezer Scrooge. While he isn't a stranger to acting in plays and skits, this is his first year as the lead character.

"At first I didn't really want to go for Scrooge," he said. "Scrooge is more of a grumpy guy, and it's not really what I'm used to."

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"At first I didn't really want to go for Scrooge. Scrooge is more of a grumpy guy, and it's not really what I'm used to." - Noah Crowley

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Crowley decided to take the leap to audition for the lead and see what happened.

"Sure, I'm nervous, but at the end of the day, it's going to be awesome," he said.

Bauer, a senior and long-standing member of the theater, is doubling up on duties this year. He is cast as Scrooge's nephew, Fred, but is also taking on the task of assistant directing. The decision to take a more behind-the-scenes role, he said, was not easy.

"I was apprehensive, because part of me always wanted to be Scrooge," he said. "I didn't know being assistant director was on the board, and I didn't know what to say."

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"I was apprehensive, because part of me always wanted to be Scrooge." - Zack Bauer

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Director Susan Mathison-Young spoke to Bauer about the opportunity to direct after holding auditions. Bauer said he felt like he was capable of doing more than he had in the past, so he accepted the position.

"I really want to be my best and make everyone around me be the best they can be," he said.

Both Bauer and Crowley had to learn to think differently and stretch their abilities throughout the rehearsal process.

Crowley said the most challenging part of playing Scrooge is memorizing longer Dickensian speeches, especially in scenes where he must act on his own rather than playing off of another character. However, he said the fun of the character is the ability to become someone different from himself.

"Being on stage gives me a chance to do things I never would be able to do normally," said Crowley. "Letting loose, shouting and pounding my fists, things I could never do at home or in the hallways."

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'A Christmas Carol'

  • When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7-8, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9.
  • Where: Pequot Lakes High School auditorium.
  • Tickets: $5 each for all ages.

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Bauer said the experience of directing has given him a new perspective on what being part of a production is like. He said he often finds pieces from the characters he plays that stick with him after the performances are over, but as a director the attachment is even stronger.

"I've always been an empathetic actor," he said. "As a director, when you're assessing all of the scenes, you kind of start picking up little pieces of everyone. Instead of being attached to one character, you become attached to every character, and the entire production."

Bauer said he had to settle in to the role of director. He didn't want to step on anyone's toes, interrupt or be seen as the bad guy, and was very happy that the cast was so receptive to him and the direction he gave.

"I'm really proud of the positive atmosphere we're upholding," he said.

Crowley agreed that the cast has a solid work ethic as well as friendly personalities that have made the rehearsal process that much easier.

"I've formed relationships with people I never would have talked to otherwise," he said. "They pull me up when I'm down. They've got fun loving, good, funny personalities they all bring to the table, but on stage we all seriously show that we want to get this done and get better."

"The work we put in is incredible, and the progress we've made is astounding," added Bauer.

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"I wish there was some way to get across the message that theater is for everyone. It gives you a chance to grow, a chance to be better." - Zack Bauer

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After weeks of rehearsals, set designing and costume creation, the cast and crew of "A Christmas Carol" are nearly ready for Big Red, the heavy red velvet curtain covering the stage, to raise on opening night.

For Crowley and Bauer, this production is an opportunity to make a name for themselves as well as encourage more people to get involved in future productions.

"People know me, but I'm not really considered popular," said Crowley. "Doing this is a great way to get my name out there. The experience has been overwhelming and unforgettable."

Bauer said he encourages more people to consider finding that feeling for themselves.

"I wish there was some way to get across the message that theater is for everyone. It gives you a chance to grow, a chance to be better," he said.

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