To create a great holiday production, you need a lot of stuff: a great story, great designers, great direction, a great stage crew, great actors, but also something just as important if not as tangible… a great, big heart. And I want to tell you, as both modern actor Ryan Clemens and as Victorian-era family man Bob Cratchit, A Christmas Carol has it.
There’s a feeling of love and acceptance that lives among our company, that has been with us from the beginnings of rehearsal and has grown and developed throughout this play-creation process. I feel it onstage when I’m carving turkey with my Cratchit family. I feel it backstage as I’m swapping knock-knock jokes with my buddy Colin, AKA Tiny Tim. And I feel it out in the lobby as I’m sharing carols with the gleeful patrons, children and families exiting the theatre at show’s end. It’s that great big heart, and it’s a wonderful thing.
Fostered by Director Patrick Mullins and encouraged through the positivity of every member of the Virginia Stage Company family, that feeling has made trusted friends out of professional colleagues, bolstered team spirits through wearying work schedules, and empowered new ideas and artful discoveries through a working attitude of “Let’s try it and see!”
And, as storytellers on the stage, that feeling is part of the fundamental drive that compels us to perform this oft-told, holiday tale. For that feeling of love and acceptance is what we also long to inspire among our audience. And, don’tcha know, we do!
That full-hearted feeling that has me and my fellow actors whistling Christmas tunes as we hurry to the Wells, excited to again put on Dickensian costume and meet one another upon the stage… it transforms into the holiday cheer that has friends and families smiling and hugging and sharing happy stories as they amble out along Tazewell street.
You can ask me is the Christmas Carol set beautiful. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Is the story-telling masterful? You bet. And are the special effects special? Baby, they are thrilling and bone-chilling. But, best of all, this show has something warm and true and wonderful that you don’t find with every show. I’m very proud of it, very proud to be a part of this cast and this VSC team, and very proud of this “heart” we’ve all put forth to share.
See you at the show!
Ryan Clemens, Resident Theatre Artist
Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol