Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Halifax thespian Jeremy Webb reprises his role as Ebenezer Scrooge again this holiday season with his one-man production of Dickens’ beloved classic A Christmas Carol. Recently he spoke with AE about the production touring to numerous towns.
What are your own childhood memories of A Christmas Carol?
JW: I do recall seeing the famous Alastair Sim version, of course. In the UK, A Christmas Carol is everywhere... I remember reading the book too! It’s just a classic. I am blessed to speak the words.
Why the decision to take on the role in such a unique manner ten years ago?
JW: Ha! Originally, it was purely a 'make-work' project. I thought I'd just do a semi-staged reading, but the old theatre hack in me couldn't resist staging it in a more complete form. Very quickly it became a full show. Over the years it has just grown and grown. The words are just a treat to say, that the 'actor' in me just gets very excited each time I get to say them. I love using the words to scare the crowd, to amuse them, or to just plain entertain.
What is the best thing about playing the role?
JW: Looking forward, it's so thrilling to know that with each passing year I get closer to being the right age! I love the range I get to play in this show...from miser to buffoon, from heartbreak to joy.
What have been some of your favourite performances or moments over the last decade?
JW: Wow. That's tough. I get to interact a lot with the audience in this show. Those bits are my favourite. Also, when we add new challenges each year. They keep me fresh. The show is always changing and that's why folks come back. I have had some amazing experiences with members of the audience. Not just the folks I get up on stage during planned audience participation segments, but also random moments where folks don't realize they can be heard reacting. It's great. That's live theatre!
How has your relationship with Scrooge evolved over that time?
JW: I just enjoy his amazing journey. With each year I find it more heartbreaking.
Has your relationship with audience changed as well?
JW: It's always been a key to the show. The audience is part of a two-way relationship. They are vital and a big part of the show. I'd be lonely without them!
Do you have anything extra special planned to commemorate the anniversary?
JW: Oh, I think I should have a party, bringing back anyone that's worked on the show over the ten years! That's probably twenty different performers and technicians. I owe them big time!
Will you reprise the production in 2014?
JW: Well, you know, I am not sure. There have been rumours that we may take the show to the USA in 2014...give Nova Scotia a rest. But, until we get to January 2014, I can't tell. I plan on playing this role until I'm the right age. I figure I have another 20-25 years - IF people keep buying tickets!
Productions throughout December in various Nova Scotia/New Brunswick towns (Parrsboro, Antigonish, Halifax, Yarmouth, Annapolis Royal, Truro, Wolfville, Riverview…) including tonight in Liverpool: