Tidings of Comfort and Joy

The Christmas season is fast approaching, and after Thursday rolls past there won’t be any time for illusions to the contrary. As an apprentice here at Actors, however, I’ve been immersed in the holiday spirit for the past month, rehearsing for and performing in A Christmas Story nightly (Come see it before it closes this Sunday! Tickets are just about gone, but you may be able to get in on an empty seat pass.), while during the day I’m already knee-deep in preparing for A Christmas Carol, which opens December the 8th.

Going into rehearsals for Carol a week and a half ago, I thought for sure that I’d be entirely sick of Christmas and have to endure the hours with gritted teeth, but surprisingly, beginning a new show has been a breath of fresh air to me. I think this comes in no small part from the fact that although these two shows are both about Christmas, they differ completely in their themes and foci. Story is all about the modern Christmas of childhood, with the excitement of getting what you want, spending time with your family, and the value of dreams and memories. Carol, on the other hand, is timeless in its presentation of the Christmas spirit, with religious carols and underscoring to highlight the poignant messages of goodwill and kindness. After spending a month telling a story about the commercialized event Christmas has become, it has been refreshing for me to become a part of a story focused on what Christmas can mean for people’s happiness.

The only downside to this production of Carol is that for us performers, we have to work right up through December 28th, with only Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. I plan to fly home on the 24th, spend Christmas day with my family, then we’ll all travel back to Louisville so that they can come and see me perform in Carol. Before it’s even been performed, the show is already doing its work, bringing families together to celebrate each other and the season itself. It truly is a family production: there are even a couple of families in the cast of Carol, bringing an extra measure of fondness and familiarity to the relationships being developed between the characters. The Cratchits, played by Louisville locals Drew and Sherman Fracher, already have a glowing warmth and chemistry that couldn’t be recreated in two whole months of rehearsal.

As for Thanksgiving this week, I won’t be able to go home to North Carolina to spend time with my family.  Instead, I’ll celebrate the day with my Actors family here at the theater, feasting on a much anticipated (and well-renowned) dinner provided by the associates. Should be an evening fit even for old Fezziwig.

~ DAppleMan

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