A Christmas Carol comes to the Crawley stage
West Sussex theatre company This Is My Theatre are on the road with a revival of their popular take on A Christmas Carol, with dates including the Church of St John the Baptist, Crawley on December 21.
Playing Scrooge, just as he has done for the past couple of years, is Ethan Taylor – and once again he will be a very different kind of Scrooge. The fact is that Ethan is only 25 years old – far, far young er than Scrooge as we usually imagine him: “I have played him for the last two years, and he is a lot of fun,” Ethan says. “And you get to grow some great facial hair. I wouldn’t say that you start completely afresh with the character each year, but you definitely do try to see what the year’s experiences can help you bring to the character. But obviously the main thing is the age. Obviously most people see Scrooge as a mean old man who has had the trials of life that have caused him to grow bitter and miserly. I am having to bring that character closer to my own age. I have to show that his miser tendencies are the result of 25 years of existence rather than 75 years of existence.”
But against that, there seems a lot more point to his redemption if he has clearly got years and years left to live.
“I think you have just got to try to see him as working in this cut-throat world of business that divides people and teaches you to view your fellow man as an enemy rather than as your friend, where you see nastiness rather than niceness because of the pressures of your job.
“But it is still set very much in Victorian London. I age up a bit, but I am not an old man in it. I would say that I try to play him in his mid-30s, a bit older than I am now. But I grow a set of mutton chops so that I look very much of the period. But I do like the fact that because he has been redeemed and has changed his ways younger in life he has got a much longer sequence of life left in which he can make amends for all the misery he has caused. It is a beautiful story, and I think that is why it is so popular, year in, year out. I have played him two years before and before that I was playing Marley, and I love the fact that people are expecting us to bring it back year after year. We are returning to venues where we have been for four years now, and for some people it is becoming one of their Christmas traditions. And also you think of all the ways the story has been adapted, ballets and opera and cartoons. Even the Muppets! It shows what a great story it is.”
And is has proved a great success for the company.
“We are very optimistic. It has been a lovely few years for us. We keep coming back to places, but we are also moving further field and going to new places, which is lovely.
“I think what is great is that (company artistic director and show director) Sarah (Slator) manages to tread a fantastic balance with her adaptations. You see, say, her Romeo & Juliet and you can see that it is in a traditional form, but it is also the fact that she has managed to breathe new life into her adaptation so that people will come away thinking ‘Oh, that was a bit different.’””