“To Begin With”

The classic Charles Dicken’s story, “A Christmas Carol,” gets a backstory on how it was written, in the form of theatre.


Liam Klingensmith, Staff Writer

The Grossmont Theatre Department has a great new production coming in December, just in time for the holiday season. 

“To Begin With” is a brand new play from the mind of Rachael VanWormer, a veteran playwright as well as Grossmont College alumni. “Way back in the early 2000s is when I was a student there, in the Theatre Department as well as in the literature department,” VanWormer said. 

With a long theater history along with being in the department, VanWormer has set a goal to bring a new experience that has never been told before. With this brand-new story, challenges arise in translating something that hasn’t been performed from the page to the stage. 

Since her current jobs consist of acting, producing and directing in theater, she said writing this play naturally allowed her to enjoy what she was doing while exploring this new story. 

While many movie versions and reprints or variations of the book are made for “A Christmas Carol” every year, no one ever hears how the classic tale came to life.

“The idea really struck me for this particular play really struck me when I read a short history on Charles Dickens and the writing of ‘A Christmas Carol,’” said VanWormer when asked how she came up with this idea. 

“Before ‘A Christmas Carol,’ Christmas wasn’t necessarily a big holiday,” she continued. “I thought that was another really interesting aspect was how him writing this story in 1843 has led to Christmas decorations in grocery stores starting in September or August in 2022.” 

When it came to finding out how the original book came to be, “It was really just lots and lots of research and figuring out what the spine of the story was,” VanWormer said. 

The playwright admitted there will always be some difficulty in crafting a play, and some features come more quickly than others. “That’s one reason I’m so incredibly grateful to the folks at the Grossmont Theatre Department for inviting me in to do this,” she said.

The script is on the 19th draft and has been getting workshopped off and on by VanWormer for about six to seven years. It will be performed for the first time fully memorized with full set and costume designs.

The show, which will be directed by Megan De Board,  will run 7:30 p.m. showings on Dec. 1-3 and 8-10, and 2 p.m. showings on Dec. 3 and 10. Tickets can be purchased by calling 619-644-7234 on Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tickets cost $16 for general admission, $12 for seniors and the military, and $10 for students. They are also sold at the door with cash or check only.