Ghost of Christmas Past

(Performed in 1995 as Emily Cratchit)

Molly: I’m a Dickens fan. In high school, I played the Artful Dodger in Oliver! He was ahead of his time in terms of the way that he saw social and cultural inequality; his empathy for multiple types of people was something I always thought was interesting. The empathetic individual changes because they know it’s the right thing. The apathetic individual changes for personal gain. In the end, taking care of each other is self-preservation. And I’m not interested, necessarily, in why you’re good to each other, but you should be.

Malic: I was in A Christmas Carol in 1995 when I was five years old. I auditioned for A Christmas Carol not because I was scouring the newspaper for auditions at age five, as I had just learned to read, but I was excited because I really like scary stories. I believed then, and still do, that A Christmas Carol is a very scary story. I don’t really understand why it became this family-friendly story that it is today. So for my audition monologue (which was the first monologue I had ever delivered in my life) was Edgar Allen Poe’s The Telltale Heart. I remember the whole audition panel laughing, because it was probably really cute for a small child to tell this awful story. And I remember being so mad, because I thought it was most serious, scariest story in the world. And then I was absolutely shocked when I was cast because I was like, “Well, they laughed at my story!”

Molly: I saw Malic in 1995 in the show. So…not knowing, of course. And now we’re all cute and a romantic couple!

Malic: I’m very excited to see Molly in it! The Ghost of Christmas Past has always been my favorite character. When I was  in the show, I remember thinking  I want to play that role when I grew up. I thought it was so cool that she got to fly! So getting to see my girlfriend play my favorite character is going to make me very happy.

Molly: Henry Wishcamper spoke recently about how important it is to him that this isn’t a show where they pull everything out and dust it off—they re-imagine it every year and keep in mind everything that’s happening in the world. This story, unfortunately, remains relevant. The kind of relevancy right now feels a little more intense maybe than some years. But having a creative team behind it who doesn’t just see it as this old war horse, but as an important story to examine every year is really special. Henry said he was having a conversation with a fellow director who said at his theater it’s like, “Pull out the trunks, dust it off!” and Henry got really intense about it and said, “No! Tell the story!” That’s why the quality is really high every year. It’s not just that it’s a fancy production; the creative force behind it is interested in telling the story anew.

Malic: I think people will remember that we always have to contend with the terrible things we’ve done. The idea of Scrooge revisiting both his happiness and his wrongdoings makes me think about this social media era and how all of our wrongdoings are inescapable, not just because we’ve done them, but because there’s a very clear record that anyone can find. It’s been such a great tool for some folks to learn about what’s going on in the world, but it’s also been used as a means of expressing a lot of hate. The hopeful part of me would like to think that some of the folks expressing that hate, on the record now, are going to have a different view of it more quickly.  It’s like what you were saying earlier about it doesn’t matter why you’re good to each other, just be good to each other.

Malic: My favorite part of the show, when I was five, was the scene where the Cratchit family eats dinner because I got to eat mashed potatoes on stage. I don’t believe your character has the opportunity to eat, but…get some of those mashed potatoes!

Molly: Do they serve high-quality mashed potatoes at the Goodman?

Malic: I just was really into mashed potatoes, so they could have been any kind or quality. But I got to eat them every night!

Molly: I’ll have to ask for non-dairy. Thank you—that will be really helpful.