A Christmas Carol- Dec. 2009
“Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart” says Ebenezer Scrooge.
If this makes you think of Alister Sim’s Scrooge, The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, or even, the Mickey Mouse version, it is time to see a live version of A Christmas Carol at Live Bait Theatre in Sackville this weekend.
Jeremy Webb, a Halifax based actor originally from the United Kingdom, plays all the characters in his adaptation of Dickens’ The Christmas Carol . “I play about 30 characters. It is a lot of fun, it is quite a mountain to climb, but I have done it a couple of hundred times now, and I love doing it”.
“I was brought up on the old Alister Sims version but my favorite version of the tale, it is quite cheesy to say, is actually the Muppet Christmas Carol, it is very funny. The Alister SIms and The Muppet Christmas Carol are the ones that inspired me, there is a flavor of both. This is a classic re-telling of the story. There is a full set, and lots of atmosphere. We are very faithful to the text and I am really proud of it”.
“It is a one man show”, says Jeremy, ” but there is really no such thing as a one man show because there are all the people back stage.So I actually travel with a crew of four people,which includes two puppeteers, who operate the the big puppets that play the ghosts, and two other guys as well, and they are working all the time behind the scenes to make me look good”.
Webb adapted the story in 2003 and then performed at Neptune Theater in Halifax in 2003, 2005 and 2008. Webb has found that some of his audience members have becoming regulars.
“It is a bit of a Christmas tradition. We have audience members coming back every year in Halifax, and I have one family I met last year who had been every year from 2003 to 2008, and I had met them each time, and they had got me to sign their programs each year, and when they brought the kids in 2008 – the kids had grown up! It was quite nice, I hope they will come to see it again”.
Karen Valanne, Artistic Director of Live Bait Theater, took her own children last year. She says it really puts you in the Christmas spirit. “I brought my kids to it and they really loved the puppets. The Ghost of Christmas Future is twelve feet tall and it takes two puppeteers to make it move”.
Jeremy does all the voices in the play but the puppets add another dimension, “When I was devising the show I had to come up with ways to portray between 20 and 30 characters, and it occured to me that for the ghosts it might be kind of fun for the audience to see the puppets, Jacob Marley and the three ghosts that visit Scrooge during the night”.
Valanne says there is lively audience participation during the show and the children loved it. The show is 85 minutes long with no intermission but according to Karen that was no problem for her children, aged from six to twelve.
There are only two shows on Sunday for the general public, but the actors will be on stage again on Monday performing for school children. A website dedicated to the show ,’bahhumbug.ca’, describes the critically acclaimed, box office success as ” often hilarious, sometimes spooky” and provides information about show times and tickets. A biography of Webb is provided as well as photographs from the show, and a short promotional video.
Webb has performed in Sackville before, at the Live Bait Theater production of “There is a land of Pure Delight” last year. ” So I am really excited to come back and do another show there” says Webb, “To bring my own show to Sackville”!
Webb says that up to this point this year, about 30, 000 people have seen the show. And the number is still growing.
Last year the show toured for a week, including Sackville in its run. This year the show is touring for four and a half weeks.
“This year we are touring all around the East coast, we are going up as far as Glace Bay and across to Prince Edward Island and over to you as well! To points all over the place!”, says Jeremy.
Webb told Karen Valanne that he has been doing the show long enough now that he has begun to age into the older characters.” I no longer have to put white makeup on the sides of my hair” he told her.
The Show – A Christmas Carol
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Jeremy Webb
When: Sunday December 6th 2009 – 2 PM and 7 PM
Where – Live Bairt theater in Sackville, NB
Adults – $15.00
Students and Seniors – $12.00
Box Office Phone Number : 1-888-655-2248
Buy tickets at Live Bait Theater or through Ticket Pro at Reid’s Newstand in Moncton.