What a privilege
to play this Character. This character is so opposite from Mr. Fezziwig, who represents
life and hope, as opposed to Marley’s death and remorse. Jacob Marley is
Scrooge's deceased business partner, now a chained and tormented ghost, damned
to wander the earth forevermore as punishment for his greedy, selfish and
uncaring attitude towards mankind. Marley roams restlessly, witnessing the
hardships others suffer and lamenting that he has lost his chance to help them
forever. Through unknown means, it is Marley who arranges for the three spirits
to visit Scrooge and gives him his opportunity for redemption, which Marley
tells him, was "...a chance and hope of my procuring." In life, Jacob
Marley was the business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge. As teenagers, both of
them had been apprenticed in business and met as clerks in another business.
The firm of Scrooge and Marley was a nineteenth-century financial institution;
a counting house according to Marley, and he refers to their offices as "our
money-changing hole". They became successful yet hard-hearted bankers, with
seats on the London Stock Exchange. In spite of this, Scrooge showed little to
no remorse of Marley's death. He was named after Marley Tunnel in Devon, just
outside Totness because of Dickens' fond holiday memories of the town.
In A Christmas
Carol, Marley is the first character mentioned in the first line of the
story. Jacob Marley is said to have died seven years earlier on Christmas Eve
(as the setting is Christmas Eve 1843, this would have made the date of his
passing December 24, 1836). It would be his ghost who would be Scrooge's first
visitor (before the three other spirits to come). Scrooge is described as
Marley's "sole friend" and "sole mourner", and praises
Marley as being a good friend to him.
The ghost maintains the same voice, hairstyle
and sense of dress that he had in life, but is translucent. "He is captive,
bound and double-ironed" with chains which are described as "long and
wound about him like a tail; it was made... of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, and
heavy purses, wrought in steel." He often, in moments of great despair or
impatience at Scrooge's skepticism, flings these upon the ground before him and
almost induces his former partner "into a swoon". He explains that it
is the chain he unknowingly forged himself in life, as a result of his greed
and selfishness. As he spent his life on this earth obsessing over money and
mistreating the poor and wretched to fill his pocket, Marley is condemned to
walk the earth for eternity never to find rest or peace, experiencing an
"incessant torture of remorse", lamenting that Christmas is the time
he suffers most of all.
He comes to warn
Scrooge that he too is in danger of suffering the same fate as him. Thus,
Marley was given a chance to save his only friend's life before it was too
Mrs. Cratchit is a
relatively minor character in the grand scheme of the play, but I think she
articulates very cogently why Scrooge’s behavior is so deleterious. His
stinginess with money is quite literally starving her family, which is her
biggest priority in life. Her family is everything to her, and for her to be
doing everything she can to care for them but be held back by her husband’s
employer’s tightfistedness frustrates and infuriates her.
What were some of the
challenges for you in working on this piece?
I’m 24 and have no
children, so trying to understand what it means to want the best for your kids
and fight for them tooth and nail was something I worked hard at. I’ve learned
that patience, understanding, and balancing fairness with firmness are the
cornerstones of surviving parenthood.
What do you hope
audiences will take away from this play?
I hope this show reminds
them that Christmas really is a time for opening your heart and being thankful
for the people in your life who love you and care about you. I hope it reminds
them that there is more to this season than giving gifts and consumerism.
Christmas is my favorite time of year, and the moral of A Christmas Carol plays
a big part in that!