Hope play features southern-fried Scrooge

Actors Studio of Hope’s presentation of the comedy “Eb Scrooge: A Southern Fried Carol” returns to the dinner theater stage of Willow Leaves of Hope Dec. 10.

The local troupe first did this show last year, according to organizers.

Jason Bowser and Falicia Whited are co-directing. Bowser also is reprising his role as Scrooge from 2020.

“I cant get enough of that guy,” Bowser said last week.

Last year, the newfangled version of the holiday classic featured ample local references, including the Mill Race Park tower and the Driftwood River.

The play’s focus is upon “a world of grits and gravy, red velvet cake, and the occasional glass of sweet tea,” according to the play’s promotional material. To fully appreciate the change of scenery, know that one of the Christmas spirits is, like, a surfer dude. As different as that is, Scrooge remains as crusty and cold-hearted as Charles Dickens originally cast the killjoy.

Plus, the script by Ian Mairs retains Dickens’ perspective on Scrooge’s crustiness and later metamorphosis.

“Why, if I had my way, every idiot that went around sayin’ Merry Christmas all the time would be strung up with Christmas lights … ,” the modern Scrooge grumbles at one point, sounding very much like the original character wishing a stake of holly through the heart of those bidding Christmas cheer.

Producer Naomi Fleetwood-Pyle loves the production. Most of all, she loved Bowser’s surly Scrooge last year.

“He is so good,” Fleetwood-Pyle said. “It just blows my mind. He can be the most bah-humbug Scrooge ever. And then, at the end, his whole face changes.”