Making a Long Standing Carol

Daniel Oster

To the delight of middle and high
school theatre enthusiasts, Oak Knoll
Middle School welcomed a special
guest on January 7, Professor Joe
Mattys, Director of Theatre at Randolph-
Macon College.
Mattys has been running his adaptation
of “A Christmas Carol” for over
10 years, starting out with a small cast
and minimal accommodations, which
Mattys gradually progressed towards
full costumes and sets.
Dozens of students gathered by
Oak Knoll Middle School’s stage after
school for Mattys’ presentation, “Page
to Stage,” in which Mattys shared his
knowledge of theatre history and
discussed with students what turns
regular words and stories into plays.
Students attending were given the
opportunity to participate in the creation
of a small play near the end of
the presentation. Every child chose
to participate, working with each
other and Mattys to develop a twopage
story- containing no dialogue or
even named characters- into a play as
teachers and parents watched.
Mattys directed the children as they
created the beginnings of a play in
just 20 minutes, complete with choreography
and basic costumes while
using only materials in the room with
For the audience, the scene became
a spectacle.
“It’s impressive how they, with
such a short notice and little materials,
came up with a whole production,”
freshman Caroline Hastings
said. “It really challenges what theatre
is nowadays.”
Student interest in theatre has been
increasing within schools recently,
and because of people like Professor
Mattys, it will only continue to grow.


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