For those staying in Fredericton during the Christmas break, this year’s Theatre New Brunswick production of A Christmas Carol is a fine play to watch and get into the holiday spirit.
A Christmas Carol is based off the classic novella by Charles Dickens which has seen many theatrical adaptations, but this year TNB’s brings a twist.
Unlike other versions of A Christmas Carol, Nora McLellan, a veteran actress who started working onstage at eight-years-old, is going to be Scrooge, a mean, selfish old man who lived in London in 1843.
The play is being directed by Ann-Marie Kerr, an award-winning theatre director from Halifax, in her first collaboration with TNB. Kerr says that Scrooge’s character isn’t being changed to a woman, rather the actress is playing a man. “We didn’t change [Scrooge] to be a woman,” Kerr said. “She just becomes an actor, any actor who is playing this part.”
“Scrooge is such a universal character and of course we traditionally think of him as male,” said McLellan. “Hopefully, if I do it okay, you won’t really notice after a couple of minutes.”
According to Kerr, there are seven cast members playing almost 40 characters in the show. As a crew, the creating process is ongoing as they rehearse.
“We all just set in the room, and we play,” said McLellan. “We have to make the biggest show in town, but there are only seven of us on stage.”
“What Nora brings in, particularly, and why I chose her to be the actor is [because] she can bring the comedy and the tragedy,” said Kerr. “She can play this mixture, and Scrooge has to have both of those things.”
“It is a very particular telling of this story that will feel fresh and different and very creative to what some of other productions have been.” said Kerr.
The theatre school next to the rehearsing building has attracted a lot of students who are interested in stage performance.
“While the professional actors are rehearsing here during the day, in the evening we have students from elementary, middle and high schools to come in and do acting classes and musical theatres,” said Matt Carter, the director of communications in TNB.
“Some of the students came here for confidence building,” said Carter. “They come to learn speaking in front of a group of people.”
The show will be running in The Fredericton Playhouse from Dec. 14-16.