I started at the Goodman in January 2005, so I just missed A Christmas Carol my first year. I helped take the set down though, and this will be the 12th production I’ve worked on.
My first year was the year they decided to do the big Ghost of Christmas Present reveal at the opening of the second act. So we added all of those barrels, tankards, cornucopias spilling out with grapes, vegetables and meat pies. We put little crystals on everything to make them sparkle.
A couple years later, they decided to build a new Counting House unit [the set piece for Scrooge’s office] and change the look of it, so it also transforms into the Fezzwig’s house. They’re the same set piece. The Counting House has a lot of books, and Fezziwig is supposed to work in textiles, so we had to figure out how to put textiles on the shelves. That’s a big change. And then it has to turn back into the Counting House. I suggested that we have the walls spin around. Turns out, because of physics, spinning can cause weird things to happen; so instead, the walls flip vertically to reveal the different settings.
We built this wagon unit for Old Joe about five years ago. It’s really special. It’s got steel framing on the inside, and wood on the outside and then dressed with lots of items on the inside. The wheels actually came from a wagon that was used in another production before my time. They were sitting on a truck in the back lot for years, and we said, “Oh! We can use those!” The costume department weighed to say this texture is a little too rough, his costume could get snagged on it, so we come in with some sandpaper to sand it down.
Four years ago, I started taking my niece. This will be our fourth year. She’s 11 now, so I thought maybe she’s getting a little too grown up for it, but I said, “Hey, do you want to go see it again?” She said, “Yeah, we do that every year!” so that makes me feel good.