July 20th

Rehearsal 3

Tonight’s rehearsal for A Christmas Carol was light, fun, and very productive.

The rehearsal began 20 minutes late when birthday boy Chris (39) going on 50 burst into the rehearsal space with his freshly trimmed strawberry blond hair and a Shakespearean strut.

Walter had secured us a nice room at Temple University. The room has a classroom feel to it with an empty gas canister and a replica M16 sprawled along one of the tables. It’s our second time rehearsing at TUJ.

A Christmas Carol is a short novel about a bitter miser called Scrooge. (Played by Tim, who is nothing like Scrooge…cough) With the help of three ghosts, Scrooge changes dramatically, and becomes kind and generous by the end of the story.

Trying to condense A Christmas Carol into a sixty minute play was very challenging as a writer. Charles Dickens often wrote with a fluid, epic and film like style, with locations changing constantly and dozens of theatrical and flamboyant characters. However, I hope I’ve managed to honor the book in a fun and respectful manner. I kept a lot of the original dialogue and also incorporated some of Dickens own notes and quotations.

Dickens’s desired a face-to-face relationship with his public (the relationship he was to achieve literally with his readings), in which he and his audience were present in the same room. Our play opens with Dicken’s (played by Chris) reading to the audience.

The rehearsal was split between debate around the table and work on our feet; discovering and exploring the basic physicality of the show and its movement sequences.

Tonight’s rehearsal was Walter’s last until September. He’s going on holiday to America for a month. We rehearsed Marley, Fezziwig and Christmas Present scenes. The Fezziwig scene is one of my favorites as it’s full of joy, merriment and music. It’s also a very contemplative scene. Especially at the end.

I should also mention Chris made a rather fetching Mrs. Fezziwig.

One hilarious moment in the rehearsal was when Walter called Scrooge ‘Bob Marley’. Images of Bob Marley singing ‘No woman no cry’ through Scrooges office window, on a cold, Victorian Christmas eve filled my mind.

At the end of the rehearsal, Tim recounted his horrifying experiences at a public school, he attended in London (During the 1800’s) ‘The teachers you see’ he exclaimed with a tint of resentment ‘caned the naughty boys’ bottoms for punishment. In the shower room, you could always tell the boys who had been caned, by the black stripe on their behinds.’

I always wondered where the inspiration for the name Black Stripe theatre came from.