Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Christmas Creep"

You have probably heard this term before, especially if you are in retail. It refers to a phenomenon, starting over the last 30 years or so, or businesses decorating for and selling items pertaining to Christmas, slightly earlier in the year every few years. The idea being that people always spend more during the holidays, and that the earlier companies can comfortably get people into that Christmas buying mindset, the longer they will be able to enjoy the fruits of an extended purchasing season.

Some radio stations get into the act, by starting wall-to-wall Christmas music as early as the first day of November in some cases.

That is the general use of the term. But there is another, more theatrical use for "Christmas Creep". It refers to the notion of being cast in a Christmas themed play, scheduled to go on at Christmas time, thereby requiring rehearsals to begin in and around October in most cases. Though one isn't putting up a tree or playing the Nat King Cole album just yet, being in a Christmas play does, almost by force, incline one to give thoughts to the holiday earlier in the year than one otherwise might.

Tonight begins a small amount of theatrical Christmas Creep for me. For in addition to heading into the Full Circle Theater for a pick-up rehearsal of A Thurber Carnival, I will also be attending my first read through for Full Circle's A Christmas Carol. Well, at least I will be attending a part of the read-through.

I didn't audition for this show. But it would appear that the male audition numbers for it were very low this year, and I was asked if I would be willing to step in, if needed. Not wanting the show to have to be canceled, or any such extreme as that, I let the director know that if the chips were down and she couldn't find anybody, I would step in. The chips fell, and there I was.

This is the same version of A Christmas Carol that I appeared in back in 2008, when Full Circle first opened its current venue. (For more insight into that adventure, please go back into this blog's archives starting in October of 2008 or so.) I was within a stone's throw of playing the same role as two years ago, but I will no longer be doing so. I regret that a tiny bit, because I enjoyed the part(s), and to date I have never reprized a role. I was curious what it would feel like to come back to the exact same lines just a couple of years later.

This script opens at the home of Dickens himself, sharing the idea of a Christmas Carol at a party. The guests in turn play the various characters from the classic tale. (With the original lines from the novel left very much intact.) The last time around, I played Bob Cratchit, among other roles, such as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and the small yet highly enjoyable role of Topper.

This time will not be a disappointment though, as I will still get to play several notable characters, including Fred, Young Scrooge, and Old Joe. (Assuming the schematics of who plays whom remain the same.) There may be one other character in there for this role, I cannot recall at the moment.) The "base" character is that of Charles Dicken's brother Frederick.

I have played Fred in staged readings here and there, but never in a full production. Yet I have always wanted to explore that particular personality. I will now have that chance.

Though I can't say for certain, I imagine my blog updates during this show will be more streamlined than those of two years ago, simply because I am already quite familiar with the script. Though I won't be playing the same character, and it is being directed by someone else this year, I already have a grasp on the tone of the piece, and therefore won't have much need to document my discovery of same. It may even allow me to be more specific in my comments as rehearsals go along, concentrating on more subtle things. (About which I love to write.) I won't know for sure until after a few weeks of rehearsal.

But until then, there are still three more Thurber Carnivals to get through. Four if you count tonight's rehearsal. I confess the holiday show will not have my full attention until after Thurber is complete. But it is sometimes nice to know exactly where one is going next in the community theatre world.

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