It’s twelve days until opening night of the Flagstaff Players production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. We’re a long way from being ready but I have no doubt that we’ll pull it off. In order to do so, though, we’ll practically be living at the Sedgewick hall for the next two weeks!
This afternoon was costume call. We met at the hall to go through our “tickle trunks”* and figure out what everyone will wear. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll join the director and another cast member at Mopsy Tucks, a costume rental place just down the road in Lougheed, to see if we can fill in the gaps. I also have some sewing to do; mostly minor alterations.
On Wednesday, immediately after the community gathers at the hall for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony, we’ll begin constructing our set. We have a crew who are ready to move in and put it together. As usual, I’ll be there with hammer or paintbrush in hand to do whatever I can. The stage itself will be an elaborate one with several different levels but the backdrops and props will be quite simple.
It always amazes me how a play begins to come together once the set is in place. When we have walls instead of lines of masking tape on the floor, the whole thing becomes much more real and we usually move pretty quickly from hesitant and nervous to confident and ready.
Most of the cast have memorized their lines and we’ll be prying reluctant fingers from the last few scripts this week. Once we’re onstage without the scripts, we can work on voice and character development. Then the play really begins to come to life.
Richard and I have very small roles in this year’s play. Because we were away for three weeks this fall, we weren’t able to take on as much as we have in the past and have found it a little harder to get into the spirit of things. Now that the deadline is fast approaching, however, I’ll be living and breathing A Christmas Carol until the lights go out at the end of our final performance and I’ll be loving every minute of it.
*Those of you who aren’t Canadian might not know what a “tickle trunk” is but the term is familiar to anyone who grew up or parented children in Canada within the past 40 years. The name comes from Mr. Dressup, a popular children’s television series that was produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1967 to 1996. The show, which aired every weekday morning, starred Ernie Coombs as Mr. Dressup. Each day, one segment of the show featured his Tickle Trunk, from which he would get a costume. It might be an animal costume, or a policeman’s or fireman’s uniform, or some other outfit in which he would dress up and play whatever role was suggested by the costume. The trunk must have been magic as it always had the right costume, in the right size, neatly folded at the very top. I can only wish that our “tickle trunks” were as well equipped!