What makes Scrooge tick?
Noel Adams, who stars in the new Good Company Players production of “A Christmas Carol,” is a first-time Scrooge. But he brings a lifetime of theater experience to the role. I checked in with the longtime GCP actor about his highly appropriate first name, his favorite Christmas Ghost and his take on playing the most famed cranky guy in literature. The play runs at the 2nd Space Theatre through Dec. 23.
Q: What is your earliest memory of “A Christmas Carol” as a child? Was it the book, movie or a play?
A: My earliest memory of “A Christmas Carol” goes back to maybe 4th grade and a Classics Illustrated version of the story. CI was a graphic novel (comic book) series of condensed, illustrated versions of classic literature. I was struck mostly by the love and goodness of the people around Scrooge, the Cratchits, Fred, Fezziwig, in the face of his wretchedness.
Q: I was actually a little terrified of the story when I was little because of the ghosts. Did you ever feel the same way?
A: I wasn’t terrified of the ghosts because the drawings weren’t very scary.
Q: You have a pretty cool first name when it comes to Christmas stuff. Or have you gotten tired of doing that?
A: Yes, yes, the “Noel question”. I grew up wanting to be a Mike or a Joe, and Christmases were especially trying. I truly came to hate the carol. People kept singing it to me! It took me until early adulthood to get over it and to appreciate my “cool” name.
Q: I understand that you were in the very first show at 2nd Space, and Dan Pessano was the director. Tell us about that show.
A: One of the things I’m most proud of in my theatrical “career” is that I was a big part of the very first show at the 2nd Space. I played Treves in “The Elephant Man” in 1982. Dan was the director and he must have been somewhat pleased since he’s cast me in several major roles since.
Q: Which is your favorite Ghost: Past, Present or Future? If you had to pick one to co-host a dinner party, who would it be?
A: My favorite ghost, as far as having a good time with, is Christmas Present. He’s “quite a jolly fellow.” Christmas Past might be more interesting to talk to.
Q: What is the most Scrooge-like thing you’ve ever done (and are willing to admit to)?
A: I confess I’m a real Scrooge when people hit me up for money on the street. I’m not abusive like Scrooge but I never give money. Bah!
Q: You take a pretty big emotional journey each night with this character. What is the hardest thing about playing the role?
A: Yes, each night is quite a journey, from a lonely, unhappy man to one who understands what life is really about – family, love and kindness. It’s great fun to feel the audience with us on the journey. The most difficult thing for me in the role is that fine line between a real person and a caricature. Scrooge must be drawn broadly but not so much that the audience doesn’t believe him. And like him. As despicable as Scrooge might be early in the play, we must realize that he has goodness buried deep down inside somewhere.
Q: Tell us a little about this production. Anything strange or different we should know about?
A: Maybe the most unusual thing about the play is it’s length – slightly more than one hour. Also, as you might imagine, such a large cast means a very crowded dressing room. I was able to commandeer a corner of the backstage area for my own private space. Life is good.
“A Christmas Carol,” through Dec. 23, 2nd Space Theatre, 928 E. Olive Ave. Tickets are $20 general, $17 students and seniors.
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