Thomas D. Mahard is our guest blogger for our final installment of A Christmas Carol blogs. After being in the show for quite some time… he celebrated his 1,000th performance of the show at the beginning of the run this year, but now as Ebenezer Scrooge. He is doing a magnificent job portraying the unfeeling miser and if you haven’t seen him yet, you only have until Dec 20, 2009 to do so. A giant THANKS to Tom and all of our guest bloggers for the inside info on this beloved holiday tradition.
After only 24 years of acting in A Christmas Carol, I’m finally getting the chance to play a role I’ve wanted to play my entire career. I’ve performed the role 4 times as an understudy, so I entered the rehearsal period with a solid working knowledge of the words and blocking, as well as having some ideas of things I wanted to try. Terry Carpenter (our esteemed director) was very open to all my ideas, and we incorporated many of them.
Playing the role of Ebenezer Scrooge requires a great deal of stamina especially when we start doing 9 and 10 show weeks. Consequently, I used much of the rehearsal period like a workout session, trying never to coast and always trying to stay in the moment. I knew that the harder I pushed myself in rehearsals, the easier it would be once I got on stage.
So many people think of Scrooge as a sort of cardboard cutout figure. He is greedy and mean in the beginning, and generous and happy at the end. In order for the audience to connect with him, however, he must be real. He must have redeeming qualities so that they will root for him in his fantastic journey towards redemption. Although I revere the work of all the past Scrooges (and have shamelessly stolen all their best bits) it has been most important for me to make the part uniquely my own. I had to take that cardboard image the audience has of Scrooge, and flesh him out with my own real emotions, my own humor, my own sense of pain and loss, and my own sense of joy. Only if the audience can accept Scrooge, can associate with his pain and fears and longings, can they truly feel the joy and ecstasy of his redemption, and leave the theatre with that warm glow of the true meaning of Christmas.
~Thomas D. Mahard