An Inside Look at A Christmas Carol, Part 5 (My Future’s So Bright… I’ve Gotta Wear Stilts?!?)

The last and… tallest of the spirits in A Christmas Carol weighs in with his two cents about playing an ominous figure, walking on stilts and the thrill of being able to perform during the holidays.  This excellent blog reminds us that it is never too late to change our lives.  Wonderful work, Patrick!

~Travis Walter

Patrick O'Connor Cronin as The Spirit of Christmas Future and Thomas D. Mahard as Ebenezer Scrooge

Portraying one of the spirits of A Christmas Carol at Meadow Brook Theatre is truly an honor. Seeing theatrical productions at MBT was actually one of the first things that threw me into the whole “I want to be an actor” state of mind. I’ve been seeing shows there since I was at least six or seven years old. And having a high school teacher for a mom, who would use almost any excuse to take her students to a play (whether it pertains to the studied material at the moment or not) certainly didn’t hurt. Yeah! That’s right! Sorry St. Hugo I feel bad for making you think I was sick all of those times. What!? I was learning things! Research if you will. Who wants to read The Three Musketeers when you can watch them live on stage? I always did learn more by observing anyway.

Preparation for my role of Christmas Future is quite simple actually. Less than the seven habits of highly successful ghosts actually! (attempt at a joke that would pertain to the masses ten years ago… sorry)
#1 DON’T FALL! YOU’RE ON STILTS! Doing so would make everyone uncomfortable. This only happened once during my three years actually. During the first tech rehearsal of my first year was the occurrence. It didn’t really hurt anything but my pride, though the chuckle of a few friends in the tech crew watching someone looking like a drunken skeleton hit the deck was less than fun for me.

Oh did I mention I don’t have any lines? Sneezing or clearing my throat would make the Specter seem less than effective I would wager. Since the spirit looks like Death, it probably wouldn’t look good to have a coughing fit while Scrooge has “learned the things I have shown him.”

During the student matinee performances some children are actually chilled to the bone when I show up on stage. This always makes me feel quite affective and pleases me a great deal! It’s funny how much we can learn from children. They merely sit back and take it all in for the most part. While others (adults) have the need to have an answer. “He’s on stilts!” Is always a phrase I hear during high school and adult audiences. I won’t take it too personally however. How many skull faced eight and a half foot tall people do we really run into every day at Costco anyway?

All in all, with all joking aside. I believe my character shows Scrooge (Thomas D. Mahard) the way things could be. I firmly believe that the future is not written in stone as the name “Ebenezer Scrooge” is illuminated on the tombstone. Personally my take on Future is somewhat a selfish one. Since I also play Young Scrooge in the play, it makes it easier to connect with the character Scrooge as an older man. I feel that Future is trying to light a beacon not to follow, but to stay away from. Scrooge could so easily end up being just another tortured soul roaming in the dark if he doesn’t change his ways. Hey. Let’s not let that happen.

Also. Let me end this blog in saying how much of an awesome thrill it is to be able to share the stage/offstage with so many talented people. It throws a smile on my face that I actually get to go to work everyday during this holiday season, and get to do what I love the most! Thank You Meadow Brook! 🙂

~Patrick O’Connor Cronin

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