Workshop Players seek versatile Christmas cast


Staff Report



Auditions for Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” will be held at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13 and Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the Workshop Players Theater, 44820 Middle Ridge Rd., Amherst Township.

This is not your typical “A Christmas Carol” adaptation.

The time is Christmas Eve. Dickens and his wife have invited friends for a Yuletide celebration. When they ask Charles for a story, he whisks his guests to the attic where the Dickens’ theatrical props are stored and he distributes various parts for his guests to play in a story he’s just developing.

Forty-eight characters are portrayed by only 10 actors. The ability to portray several distinct characters is a must. English accents are strongly recommended. Some characters use Cockney. Some ages of the characters may be altered to accommodate casting requirements.

In preparation, children will be asked to tell a story with two or more characters in which they may act out the action and dialogue (limit two to three minutes). Adults are asked to prepare two monologues to demonstrate an ability to portray distinct characters (limit three minutes total for both).

Call-backs (7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16) will consist of readings from the script. Some acting exercises may also be included in the audition process.

Rehearsals are tentatively set for 7-9 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays at the theater. Tech rehearsal will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15. Attend auditions with any conflicts you may have.

Since school will be in session, the production will try to limit the number of rehearsals involving the children and they will be sent home as early as possible. However, the closer to opening, the more frequent rehearsals will be and the later they will run. A parent or guardian must be present for each child while rehearsing.

Parts include:

• Charles Dickens (not Scrooge) in his early 30s. High energy, engaging and winsome, although melancholy at the opening.

• The Child, about 10 years old. Precocious, troublesome, the embodiment of Dickens’ repressed inner child.

• Mark Lemon, editor of Punch magazine, a humorous weekly. Good natured. Loves a joke, but tends to complain about unexpected events. Huge appetite and waistline. A fat suit might be necessary. Plays First Portly Gentleman, Fezziwig, Fat Man, Man on the Bed.

• Frederick Dickens, Charles’ younger brother, early 20s. Something of’a ne’er-do-well but of the charming’variety. Portrays Fred, Young Scrooge, Peter Cratchit, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (first appearance), Old Joe.

• Clarkson Stanfield, an artist, about 32. Has a gentle yet mischievous demeanor. A major plus if you can play violin reasonably well. Portrays Bob Cratchit, Ghost of Christmas Past, Topper, The Thin Man, The Undertaker.

• Helen Hogarth, 10-year-old niece of Charles Dickens. Portrays a Caroller, Fan, a Little Fezziwig, Belinda Cratchit.

• Charley Dickens, Charles’ son, also about 10 years old. Portrays a Caroller, Young Ebenezer, a Little Fezziwig, Tiny Tim, the Boy.

• Mrs. Stanford, wife of Clarkson, early 30s. Delicately featured. Sings a duet in the course of the play. Portrays Belle, Martha Cratchit, Mrs. Fred’s sister, the Charwoman.

• Catherine Dickens, wife of Charles, late 20s or early 30s. Taller than Mrs. Stanford. Sings a duet in the course of the play. Portrays Mrs. Fezziwig, Mrs. Crachit, Mrs. Fred, Mrs. Dilber.

• John Forster, Dickens’ closest friend and advisor, 30s. Intimidating in appearance and demeanor, yet with an underlying playfulness. Portrays Second Portly Gentleman, Ghost of Jacob Marley, Dick Wilkins, Ghost of Christmas Present, Man with Handkerchief, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (second appearance).

Performance dates will be Nov. 19-21 and 28-29; Dec. 4-6 and 11-13.

For more information, email director Jonathan McCleery at strongheart11@yahoo.com.

Staff Report

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