This is my third time round performing in A Christmas Carol. My first time was 2014, and I wasn’t here last year. So, this feels as if starting anew again. One of my most pleasant parts is sitting round the green room sharing a meal with cast, crew and stage management. We don’t often see everyone together, so getting to see familiar and not so familiar faces, laughing, talking, celebrating birthdays (which stage management diligently and meticulously always remembers to celebrate) with cake is a lot of fun.
My first year, a young girl—maybe 5 years old at most—was brought to me during my collecting for Season of Concern. Her mother gently nudged her forward, and I put my hand out to say hello. The absolute wonder on her face (I was in full costume, mind you), as she tentatively took my hand filled me with joy. We just stood and stared at each other and she helped me finish collecting. Nearly 20 minutes later, as I was leaving the theater sans costume, she and her very patient mum were still there, standing outside in the cold. I guess she didn’t want the evening to end. As I crossed the street to walk home, I heard a tiny voice peal through the air—”good night! Goodbye!! Bye! Bye!” I turned to see her frantically waiving. Having stood in the cold. That memory still warms me even now.
A Christmas Carol can become an instant family tradition—and for the entire family, no matter your age. Young children can view it with wonder and awe, teens can allow themselves to slide out of their ennui and fall into wonder and surprise and warmth, and parents/adults/grandparents can just enjoy a shared experience with family—with no pressure, no hard work—sit back and let us entertain you and give you a thoughtful story about the season!
Also, the story is ever relevant, ever enlightening—one can see something new and different each year, in both the physical production, but also in what is emphasized each year about human nature, empathy, and connection.
TIP FOR BEING THE BEST GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: Find absolute joy and work on and perfect your laugh! I may laugh because I know I must do so in the part, but it actually really affects me, and I find myself genuinely laughing for joy!