Our Apprentice Company weighs in...
A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a remount of a production that was done last year, though there are many differences to the show, including many new cast members. What's it like coming into the rehearsal process as a new face?
MEREDITH MATTHEWS: I don't really think that this is a remount; I think it's more of a reimagining. We have a new set, new costumes, and fresh faces. Knowing that there were new elements and that there were other people who knew just as little as I did made me feel a bit better going into the production process.
CORINNE GAUCHER: These are big shoes to fill, and it's sometimes hard to hear the phrase "Well, last year we..." without feeling inadequate or out of the loop. Thankfully, The Playhouse is a place of inclusion, and the returning cast and crew of A Christmas Carol has warmly welcomed us in. Not to mention, Cristi Miles is a brilliant director who has described this process as a "reimagining" not a remounting which is always a comforting feeling to revisit when that feeling of awkward new kid starts bubbling up.
ADRIANA BORDEA: ...Hearing such amazing things about last year's process, collaboration, and public support, I can't help but feel so pumped to put it on again and go through the process myself... There have already been so many moments where I got chills and had to hold back tears by what was occurring around me; it is electrifying, and I can't wait for the audience to feel what I'm feeling.
Tell us about some of the surprises, challenges, and delights you've found in this process.
AB: The pre-show has been super fun to work on and play with. We get to be in character even before the show starts, so you will definitely meet some interesting characters along the way in box office, raffle, concessions, etc. We also have caroling groups, and there are Christmas trees for sale outside, which is awesome! Right when you step in our space you leave present Portland and are transported to Dickensian time.
CG: I've been surprised about how fast paced the process has been, as well as how quickly the show itself moves. It's definitely challenging to juggle songs, lines, transitions, cues, and intensity with a show that moves so fast. I've really enjoyed creating the two characters I play in the show because they are so vastly different from myself, as well as from each other. This process has been freeing as an actor because there is so much room for playing (we describe our set as the playground; just wait til you see it)!
EMMA BRIDGES: In one moment, I have a line, and then immediately I'll be playing guitar accompaniment, and then I'll be changing my costume, and someone else's costume, while singing my soprano harmony on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman." It's incredibly fast-paced and exciting, and I have to be on the ball constantly. I love the beautiful and haunting musical arrangements in this production. It's my family's Christmas tradition to see A Christmas Carol every year when I'm back home and to watch the Alastair Sim film version, so I know this show quite well, and I've never heard the music so integrated into the show. It's very fun and hauntingly beautiful!
What is your favorite moment of the show so far, whether in rehearsal or in performance?
MM: My favorite moments so far have been watching it all come together. Seeing the ensemble problem solve is just astonishing. As our director, Cristi Miles, would say, they are smart actors. Watching Cristi, Justin [Carroll, Music Director], and the ensemble work out the flow of this very fast and furious production has been a rewarding process to be a part of.
CG: I love the moments that cause us to burst out laughing when we least expect it. It keeps things fresh, exciting, and makes me love this cast and crew that much more.
AB: While doing a run through of the show, it hit me hard, a revelation: this is not just a Christmas show, this is a show about a human being changing. He goes through tests and trails to challenge the person he is, which results in him realizing the faults he has had, and that it is not too late to change. This is the path we all take at different points of our lives, and to see it all happen right in front of us in this show is still awe-inspiring.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL opens tomorrow night, Saturday, December 6th and runs through December 28th. Click here for tickets!