When it comes to the classic story of "A Christmas Carol," Scrooge has always been the star. That’s especially the case this year for The Rep’s annual production of Charles Dickens’s holiday staple, as a new Scrooge – Jonathan Smoots – takes on the classic character’s crotchety persona.
But just as important to the story are the Cratchits, who embody the Christmas spirit and the human spirit so essential to Dickens’s fable. For the past few years, the two characters have been played by the same two Milwaukee actors: Jonathan Wainwright and Marti Gobel. This year’s run – which opened last week – is no different. OnMilwaukee.com chatted with the two actors to find out what it’s like returning to the roles, bringing the Cratchits to life and the timeless power of "A Christmas Carol."
OnMilwaukee.com: You've been in "A Christmas Carol" for several productions now. What's it like returning to a show and a role like this every year? Do you bring something new to it or learn something new from it every time?
Jonathan Wainwright: I had never done something where I was returning as the same character and in a situation where so many others in the show – even if they were returning – were playing different roles. It’s very interesting to see the whole thing unfold in a familiar, yet organically different, way. And as it unfolds, to see where you fit and how the interactions change ever so slightly can be a challenge to our tendency to want to stay in a comfort zone. So even though it’s the same role, it is always different at the detail level. And as Cratchit, the primary concern is finding your way into Scrooge – or a new Scrooge as the case may be – and into his heart as it were.
Marti Gobel: It has been a great joy to play Mrs. Cratchit for the third year. My approach to the life of the Cratchits has been consistent – through the guidance of the director – but small adjustments are made based on the characters that have new actors port…Read more...