The end of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's 24th production of A Christmas Carol just about marks my midway point through my time here as an acting intern. It seems that most actors will encounter this play at some point in their careers, and I feel lucky to have been a part of this particular production in this particular year.
In twenty-four years, never has the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge been understudied at this theater. However, this year the-powers-that-be decided that the prospect of cancelling a production of this theater's cash cow was probably not a great plan. Naturally in the first year of having a Scrooge understudy, our own Nick Rose did go on for an injured Bruce Cromer for a number of performances. Alongside injury, most of our cast experienced what I tenderly named #flupocalypse14, also resulting in understudies to take stage, thus shifting our cast list on a nightly basis.
But besides all the random acts of God or whatever causes such events, this production was special to me for less traumatic reasons. This production is technically my very first equity level, regional theater premiere. So that was kind of big. And with all that, I got to work alongside some wonderful dressers and stage hands who have held up the backstage life of this theater for decades. I was surprised by the completely cool parents, having my own childhood memories of doing theatre and some of the insane personalities I encountered in 'stage moms.' Always relaxed, hands off, but supportive, these people gave up hours each day in travel and rotating meal duties to support their kids' passion. And the kids were all freaking awesome too! Poised and ready to work, but always able to find the fun in it, I couldn't imagine a better group of young artists to learn from. Of course, I was also lucky to be surrounded by incredible adult actors who, with such grace and ease, breathe spontaneity and life into roles they have played for years and years, some for decades. From all these glorious people, I received generosity and kindness in sharing their own experiences and returning my curiosity with genuine interest in how I imagine myself moving forward in this theatre life.
So its sad to see it all go, even though from auditions to closing its been three months of non-stop Christmas. And if you think the holidays are long for your family, just consider the song Joy to the World on repeat for three months in your brain and get back to me.