|The Eight Who Played Everyone except Scrooge|
I've been in five different productions of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL since arriving in America in 1992, excluding my own solo presentation which is in its fifth manifestation. Each has its own special qualities and memories.
One of my favorite moments happened on the evening that Ms. Carla Nickerson, a wonderful Austin actress who played Mrs. Cratchit (among others) in the 2004 and 2005 productions at the State Theatre, took the stage and introduced herself as Mrs. Bob Marley. It's a wonder this hadn't taken place before to anyone who has to mention either Jacob Marley or Bob Cratchit -- so easy to get those mixed up, particularly when there exists in history the reggae giant, Bob Marley. On that particular night, I was in the middle of a quick change (stage-left) into Ms. Belinda Cratchit, Bob Cratchit's daughter. I had put on my blue pinafore and was just pulling on hairband with three brown ringlets on either side when I heard that immortal line,
"Mr. Bob Marley's house. Mr. Bob Marley's wife, Mrs. Bob Marley."
Since my line, as I zipped on stage immediately afterward, carrying plates, and curtseying to the audience was, "Belinda Cratchit" -- I didn't know whether to say, "Belinda Marley" to support my stage mother, or keep my line as it was supposed to be. If I said Cratchit, it would point out Carla's slip of the tongue, but if I said Marley, we'd have to change that familiar family name for the rest of the play. So I curtseyed and said, "Belinda Cratchit." No sooner had I uttered the words than Carla's eyes widened with horror as she continued, "Her daughter..." By this time, all the other actors were coming on stage and taking their place in the scene. We could barely hold it together! Like the professional actors we were, we channeled that hilarity into the moment. It was the liveliest, merriest, unashamedly entertaining Cratchit scene in the history of the play -- at least for the actors. Fingers crossed it translated to the audience!
|Cast of State Theatre's A CHRISTMAS CAROL, 2005 (with Scrooge)|