We’re throwing things back to the beginning of rehearsals for A Christmas Carol Reimagined as we look at what’s new this year in light of 2020 and what audiences can expect with our digital download and socially distanced in-person film screenings. Director of marketing and public relations Lisa Condit spoke with long-time A Christmas Carol cast member and now associate director, Annie Kerins, on our weekly Behind the Scenes WCRN 830AM radio program about the show last month. Listen to the interview below, or read on for highlights. Hank Stolz hosts Behind the Scenes with The Hanover Theatre on Talk of the Commonwealth Fridays at 9am, with replays Saturdays at 1pm. Tune in for more behind-the-scenes content and exclusive news!
New Adaptation, Familiar Faces
Hank: A big family is what you have, isn’t it?
Lisa: Truly. And, Annie, you said thank goodness we’re working with veteran cast members.
Lisa: It is so interesting to get an insight on what director, writer, president and CEO, Troy Siebels, is doing across the way. Here we are all in parallel universes and we’re going to have this filmed theatrical production available to people December 11. There are not a lot of days between now and then and your rehearsals really just started.
Annie: Yeah, we are at the beginning of our second week of rehearsals right now. We’re pretty much off book and yesterday they let us on the stage for the first time, which is a week earlier than usually actors in equity theaters get to do. We’re already reforming some of the blocking and the staging based on what we’re seeing in the space now that we are physically there. It’s great that we have a short hand with the six adults in the show. Three of them have done the show at least once before, and three of us have done the show many, many times. We have a good relationship with Troy and with this adaptation that we have this history to build on. We have all experienced what the 30-person version of this show is. There are aspects that Troy has brought in from that 30-person version that are being built on that we all have background knowledge about, so we don’t have to have that conversation about the fact that the Tiny Tim future scene has been moved from the graveyard to a funeral in a church. We all have that background knowledge. So yeah, it’s been very helpful.
Youth Actors Bring New Energy
Lisa: Tell us about the children that were cast for this, because those were the only roles we auditioned for this year.
Annie: We have two children in the show. It is really exciting in pandemic 2020 when we haven’t been able to engage the way we’re used to engaging with new people that we’re meeting, with strangers. It’s really nice to have these two little ones in the space, one who’s done a lot of shows before, and then one that hasn’t done a show before. We have these two bundles of energy. We are having so much fun getting to know them. Clara Cochran was telling us about her puppy, she just got a puppy. We are all just getting so excited on our breaks to hear a little child tell us this story we didn’t know. We’re practically in tears, like, “Tell us about your puppy!”
Working Around COVID-19
Lisa: That is so cute! The other thing that Troy had mentioned in a meeting with the staff is that, you know first of all he is such a creative force, the first adaptation is amazing and then to really work in real time with that sense of urgency that that story needs to be told. He’s recreating it right now as we speak. He said that with some of these safety precautions, because we jump through a lot of hoops and we have a lot of protocols in place to make sure we keep our record clean, nobody gets sick and everybody is safe during the filming of this theatrical production. He said that it’s just interesting because normally you can serve people and somebody else can pick up a cup for example. But now, nobody can touch anybody else’s things.
Annie: I think the Fezziwig warehouse scene is probably the best example of that because that’s the most props I think right now, as of week two, that we’re using in the show. Once a prop has been set up backstage, it gets wiped down by stage management, but then if you actually need it to start in a slightly different spot to be closer to your entrance, you have to set that. And if we’re going back to re-rehearse the scene, normally stage management would take all of those props and put them back where they went to start and, now, you know you have to remember to do them.
For me, I actually have three props in that scene. We were rehearsing it yesterday and we kept going back. Every time I would forget to put one prop back, so I would have to say, “Oh, can we stop so that I can put the chair back where it starts?” Because normally somebody else would swoop it up. So, I come in, and I have a crate with me, and I put it on a chair and halfway through I take the chair and put it backstage. I come back out and take the crate, and I actually hand it to Ebenezer Scrooge, who is my husband in real life, who I am in a bubble with. We are the one pairing that can pass things off, or be closer than six feet. So in that scene, we take advantage of it and I actually hand him something and then I go grab a tray of mugs. I can’t actually touch any of the mugs. Fezziwig takes the mugs off the tray. It is technically my prop, but I can’t touch any of the mugs. I just carry the tray and he takes the mugs off and then I exit with the tray.
Lisa: I cannot wait to see how this all comes together. I am so completely excited. It is a whole new level of anticipation in a year like this because truly it is being created, and it is going to be like an unveiling.