Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
A Christmas Carol was the first play in which I ever performed. Although I was only 12, it made a huge impact on me and it continues to be one of my favorite stories. The rich characters are more to me than just characters - they serve as examples of what could have been or what could be.
Of course there is Scrooge - synonymous with all things curmudgeonly. Scrooge is the "villain" of the story. But why? He was neither dishonest nor a cheat. He worked hard, minded his own business, paid his taxes and avoided many of the vices over which we spend so much time obsessing. Scrooge's villainous flaw is that he had shut himself off - closed his heart. A Christmas Carol delves into the "whys." There is more to Scrooge than can be fully appreciated from the surface.
Scrooge's nephew, Fred, and Bob Cratchit provide another angle. While most of the characters in the story choose to avoid Scrooge for what he is, Fred loves him for who he is, beneath teh layers of regret, fear and loneliness. Fred demonstrates unconditional friendship when many of us would not. Fred and Bob Cratchit refuse to speak badly of Scrooge and, in the end, play a large role in Scrooge's redemption.
A quote from H. Jackson Brown, Jr. translates the spirit of their empathy into everyday life, "Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something." Perhaps one more kind word or shred of understanding (or bitten tongue) can make a difference. After all, it took Fred, Bob and four persistent ghostly apparitions to reach Scrooge, but reach him they did!
Director, A Christmas Carol
The LTA production of A Christmas Carol runs through December 18. Tickets are available online at www.thelittletheatre.com.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
|Actor Joseph Machosky as Tiny Tim and Marcus Fisk |
as Scrooge in the LTA production of A Christmas Carol.
Photo credit: Shane Canfield, http://www.cimages.org/.
What attracted you to A Christmas Carol?
I knew that Tiny Tim was a nice kid and I really wanted to be Tiny Tim. I also knew the play happens in London and that it would have English accents. I really like talking in English accents.
What do you find appealing about your character?Tiny Tim is so nice and kind and even though he is really sick he is still very happy and loves his family.
What do you want audiences to take away from the play?I would like them to feel the true meaning of Christmas. It helps you remember that Christmas isn't about presents. It's about being kind to others and giving to those who don't have anything. It's also about loving your family.
And as Tiny Tim would say "God bless us All, God bless us everyone."
The LTA production of A Christmas Carol, directed by Robin Parker, runs through December 18, 2011. Tickets available online at www.thelittletheatre.com.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Thanks to Shane Canfield for taking these amazing pictures of A Christmas Carol! A full gallery can be seen on our LTA Facebook Page
|The Fezziwigs, (Janette Moman and Larry Grey) prepare to celebrate the holidays in the Little Theatre of Alexandria's "A Christmas Carol," which opens tonight and runs until Dec. 18, 2011|
|The Ghost of Jacob Marley, played by Robert Heinly, warns Ebeneezer Scrooge of the fate that awaits him if he does not change his ways.|
|Marcus Fisk breathes life into Charles Dickens's Ebeneezer Scrooge as his nephew Fred, played by Jerry Casagrande, appeals to his better nature.|
Monday, December 5, 2011
|Actor Robert Heinly as Marley in LTA's 2011 production of A Christmas Carol.|
What attracted you to A Christmas Carol?
I think the first time I experienced A Christmas Carol was in an animated version on TV when I was no more than nine or ten years old. It was just stark black and white images. I can still picture Marley's jaw dropping all the way to the floor, although it may just have been to his chest. And the Ghost of Christmas Future was terrifying too. I remember feeling so relieved and happy that Scrooge was okay the next morning.
The themes of redemption, of living life to its fullest, of taking the opportunity - the risk - of being truly happy in this world, these are universal themes in literature. Plus, this is a story that speaks to all of humanity. Scrooge specifically is a Christian tale, but merely referentially, this character is iconic, and exists in one form or another in every culture and religion.
What do you find appealing about your character, Marley?
As a character, as in the novel, Marley is a tragic, desperate fellow. One wonders if he was as crusty as Scrooge is and they were kindred spirists, perhaps with Marley as the elder, after whose death Scrooge becomes worse and more crusty. Marley has the chance to convey his regret to an earthly man (I always remember a quote from Full Metal Jacket, "The dead know only one thing: It is better to be alive.") This is a pretty miraculous thing: what would you do with that kind of chance, and whom would you single out to speak to?
As a role onstage, he is a character actor's dream. (Mine too.) You have makeup and hair possibilities as well as costume and prop choices with which you can really go wild. You can go places with voice and movement that still requires the same honesty as the living characters, but can have a "surrealism" to them also. I tried to think of a way to do the jaw thing onstage like in the animated TV version. Any ideas?
What do you want audiences to take away from the play?
I think the most important thing for the audience to take away is Scrooge's arc, his transformation. I loved this story because I was so scared of and for this man, and therefore, so relieved the next morning when he woke up and everything was okay and he became a better man. That will be our job as actors - do you dislike Scrooge at the start? Do the people in the story make you feel negatively toward him? Do we show you how he go the way he is? Do we show you good in the world for him to see? Do we offer him a chance at redemption? And, does he make the best of it?
What do you think is different about this year's production?
I appeared in the LTA production of a A Christmas Carol in 2004, 2005 and 2006 with Mike Baker as Scrooge and Donna Farragut directing. I have played several characters, a Gentleman, Fezziwig, Spirit of Christmas Present and a Gossiper. I had a total blast doing these shows every year. This year's director, Robin Parker, has done less doubling up of roles than previous shows, in which a few actors took on several parts. So, this year's cast is larger. The street sequences and dance at the Fezziwigs looks amazing. The main differences between the earlier shows and this year's model are in the technical department. Where as Donna's show was more like a traveling troupe type show, with wonderful accompaniment on piano, Robin's production is darker, more gothic, with more of an almost hybrid reader's theatre meets Tim Burton sort of feel to it, with lots more material from the Charles Dickens' novel included in the narrative and dialogue. Music and sound effect cues abound, and we fly in bits of scenery. Donna's show had the cool practical trap door for ghostly entrances and exits. Robin has the ...oops, almost gave away some stage secrets.
I'm also glad Robin was looking for an actor to play only Marley. In Donna's show, the actor playing Marley also appeared in the mistletoe scene as Topper and had to sing. While I can sing well enough in a choir, I'm no soloist. I'm a much better growler and shrieker.
The LTA production of A Christmas Carol, directed by Robin Parker, opens December 8 and runs through December 18. Tickest available for purchase at, www.thelittletheatre.com.