More great press for freeFall’s ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST

matthewSeptember 12th, 2014UncategorizedNo Comments

ST. PETERSBURG — A tie-dye bus driven by the son of late author Ken Kesey is zizagging the nation in homage to the famed sojourn half a century ago when Kesey and his Merry Pranksters helped launch the hippie era.

Tampa Bay is not on their itinerary.

“We didn’t see a need,” Zane Kesey said during a phone interview, over the roar of the bus and the gleeful chatter of its passengers. “But maybe there was.”

In fact, it’s hard to a imagine a place more focused on Kesey and his works than the freeFall Theatre Company in St. Petersburg, where a stage version of his most popular novel — “One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest,” about a brash loner who inspires fellow asylum patients to rebel — has sold out every show in a six-week run that ends Sunday.

Jim Sorensen, freeFall Theatre’s managing director, said the five-year-old theater has sold almost triple the 1,500 tickets normal for a play’s full run.

It was recently honored with nine Theatre Tampa Bay nominations, including best ensemble and outstanding production.

“It has been unprecedented success,” said Leigh Simon, who portrays asylum patient Scanlon and produced a documentary that gives audiences a backstage look at freeFall Theatre’s production. The video is at www.youtube.com/freeFallTheatre.

“I think that success has a lot to do with the brilliance of the play,” Simon said.

It is an immersive production, placing the audience at the center of the action.

All seating is styled after hospital furniture and the entire theater is decorated as a mental institution. Actors move throughout it, treating every inch as their set.

“My father would have enjoyed that,” Zane Kesey said. “He liked the shows that got the audience involved. He loved getting rid of those barriers that separate the audience and the performers.”

Sorensen of freeFall also attributed the success of his company’s “One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest” to the continuing popularity of the story 50 years after the book was published.

“People still relate to it,” Sorensen said. “It asks the question, ‘Who is crazy? The inmate or the asylum?’”

The patients central to the story are not insane, Sorenson said. They are labeled so because they act and behave in ways considered unconventional by the majority.

“People still see ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ as a metaphor for rallying against the establishment that wants everyone to be the same,” he said. “It is a powerful message for any generation and one that Ken Kesey remains the spokesman for.”

“The combine lives,” quipped Ken Babbs, who was Ken Kesey’s close friend and a Merry Prankster – the group that formed around the author in Oregon and California for its epic 1964 bus trip. The combine is how the machine-like nature of the asylum system is described in the book.

“It assumes many identities and needs bodies to work its ills.”

Babbs was on the bus trip that turned Kesey from respected author to folk hero.

The trek, chronicled in Tom Wolfe’s book “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” began at Kesey’s ranch in La Honda, California, and ended at the World’s Fair in New York City. The trip was staged in part to promote the author’s second novel, “Sometimes a Great Notion.”

Fueled by LSD and other drugs, the Merry Pranksters boarded a wildly painted bus named “Furthur” and introduced Americans to the carefree and colorful lifestyle that would mark the decade.

It was a journey made possible by the success of “One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest.”

“Kesey said his greatest work was the bus because it wasn’t art written on a page or shown in a movie but was art out amongst the people,” Babbs said.

“We were riding a wave,” he added. “We didn’t create the wave, and lots of others were riding it, too, and the wave is still going on.”

The memorial journey led by Zane Kesey takes place aboard “Further 2.0,” a bus his father purchased in the 1980s and decorated like the original. The journey started in July, runs through this month or longer, and has covered more than 7,000 miles — taking in music, historic and literary festivals in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and any event or city that embodies the spirit of the original trip.

Zane Kesey’s sojourn is drug free, its purpose to remind and teach America of the importance of his father’s trek.

“There are two types of people — those who already know about the bus and those who see it and want their photo taken with it and in the process learn the history,” Zane Kesey said. “When you get those two types of people together, they always have a lot to talk about.”

Those riding the new bus are seeing first hand, as Sorenson observed, that the story of “One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest” continues to resonate.

“High school teachers who grew up on it have chosen it as mandatory reading for their students,” Zane Kesey said. “You would be surprised how many high schools require it.”

The movie version starring Jack Nicholson won all five major Academy Awards in 1975 — best picture, actor in lead role, actress in lead role, director and screenplay.

In its initial run of 82 performances on Broadway, November 1963 to January 1964, the play starred Kirk Douglass and Gene Wilder. It inspired theatrical productions nationwide.

“Some of my father’s favorite performances took place at high schools,” Zane Kesey said. “He didn’t care whether star actors were in it. He cared about the passion of the performance.”

That passion, said filmmaker Simon, is evident in the freeFall Theatre performances.

“The actors love playing these meaty and sexy roles. There is an edge to the characters staying in an asylum as they transform from being part of the system to individuals.”

pguzzo@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7604

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freeFall premieres documentary on the making of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST

matthewAugust 28th, 2014UncategorizedNo Comments

ST. PETERSBURG – (August 28, 2014) Check out a 15 minute documentary on freeFall’s smash hit ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST!
Award-winning filmmaker Leigh Simons gives audiences a backstage pass to the theatrical event of the summer. Take an inside look at how freeFall Artistic Director Eric Davis and his team created this exciting, immersive staging of an American classic. CUCKOO’S NEST has been extended through September 14. Tickets are available by calling 727-498-5205 or by visiting www.freefalltheatre.com.

freeFall’s ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST was recently honored with 9 Theatre Tampa Bay nominations including Best Ensemble and Outstanding Production of a Play.

Theatre Tampa Bay is an independent alliance created to raise the profile of our region’s professional theatre community. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST is also freeFall’s highest selling play (non-musical).

Writer, Director and Producer Leigh Simons has produced a wide variety of television and motion picture programming over the past 27 years. The past decade his expertise has been widely recognized for his accomplishments in the area of sports documentary programming having produced over 30 boxing sports documentaries for HBO Sports, SHOWTIME Sports and FOX sports networks while working with some of the biggest names in boxing. Simons has recently begun work with freeFall Theatre producing behind-the-scenes documentaries of several productions helping to expose new audiences to the freeFall experience. Simons had unprecedented access as he auditioned and was cast in freeFall’s ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST.

Interviews with Eric Davis and Leigh Simons can be scheduled by calling Matthew McGee at 727-498-5205 X 7.

Link included below. Please SHARE online with your readers!!!

http://bit.ly/YYikNG

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Articulate Suncoast puts spotlight on Eric Davis and James Oliver!

matthewAugust 13th, 2014UncategorizedNo Comments

Things are getting a little cuckoo at freeFall theatre in St. Pete: rounding out the 2013-2014 season is a local production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

A Dale Wasserman stage version of Ken Kesey’s novel, also made into a classic 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson, the play opened August 2nd for a limited run of 22 performances through September 14th.

The final show of freeFall’s season, Cuckoo’s Nest boasts a large cast, featuring names like James Oliver (McMurphy), Roxanne Fay (Nurse Ratched) and Michael Nichols (Chief Bromden), who also starred in the 2001 Broadway Production of the same play. Directed by freeFall mastermind Eric Davis, the play is slated to be the local theatrical event of the summer.

Articulate got a chance to chat with director Eric Davis and leading actor James Oliver (freeFall’s Miss Julie and NBC’s Fraiser). Oliver and Davis are no strangers to artistic eminence—the two are big names currently shaping the Tampa Bay area performing arts scene.

How long have you been directing/acting? Why did you start?

Eric Davis: I directed my first play as a high school student. It was an evening of student-directed one-acts that I organized. I’ve always liked the idea of bringing the vision of a play as I imagine it while I’m reading it into reality. It’s still a very thrilling idea to me.

James Oliver: I’ve been acting since I was ten because my grandmother made me. I wish she could see that I’ve never stopped since then.

What inspires you?

ED: I find inspiration from a lot of sources: other theater that I see, film, music, visual art, things I read. Almost anything I encounter can become an inspiration for something.

JO: Nature. Animals. The Hopi. Hawaii. Thunder.

What’s led you to where you are in your career today?

ED: It would be impossible to list all of the people and opportunities and obstacles and choices that have led me to be here now. As with anyone in any field, every moment and experience that has come before has somehow contributed to where one finds oneself.

JO: In all seriousness, my career has been bumpy. Most are. It’s a tough road, no question. But I’m happy where I’m at as an actor. I’m better than I’ve ever been and I am learning all of the time.

Is there a specific artist you relate to, look up to, strive to emulate?

ED: I don’t really strive to emulate anyone else’s work. Instead, I respect and relate to many other artists. I’ve always loved the work of Baz Luhrmann, and Peter Greenaway. I love the stunning visual imagery they both create and I have always enjoyed employing anachronism as a theatrical device which nobody does quite as boldly as Luhrmann.

JO: There are people that inspire me, but you can’t strive to emulate anyone—you have to try to do better work than them. Build off what they’ve done, or what’s the point? Honor your heroes by picking up where they left off and digging deeper. I don’t want to be anyone’s fan, I want to create with them. But the real answer you’re looking for is: Jack and Marlon. More recently, Mark Rylance. He’s a badass and seems to be afraid of nothing. I also love Henry Miller, Tom Robbins and a million others. Anyone telling the truth and cutting through the nonsense of commercial enslavement is my hero. Eric Davis of freeFall is actually a hero of mine. I was just thinking that the other day. He had a vision and he has manifested it without compromise in a world that would offer a million reasons to doubt it would work. That’s incredible to me and I’m blown away each time I come back here to work with him.

What do you consider the best thing about being an artist?

ED: As Shakespeare put it, we are “the abstract and brief chronicles of the time.”

JO: The fact that you’re defying the collective agreement that earning money is the most important thing in life and, instead, serving beauty above all else; striving to awaken people’s feelings that we have more in common than we are different, communing with the great writers in history to create something new and carrying that brilliant lineage forward, disrupting mundanity and ignorance and becoming a better, stronger, more complete person in order to act from truth and not from the need to please or entertain. It is fascinating work and I’ll spend my whole life doing it.

How do you feel when people interpret your work differently than intended?

ED: I don’t concern myself with how others interpret my work. It does bother me when others feel the need to share with me how they interpret my work. I prefer to put the work out there for people to do with what they will. What they take away from it is a combination of how I intend the piece to work on them, both consciously and subliminally, and what they experience personally because of their past experiences and particular points of view.

JO: I don’t think about it at all. It’s theirs to interpret as they please. It’s not my business to tell them what to think – it’s my business to tell the truth as best as I can and then go home.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

ED: I would advise them to work hard and learn as much as possible about their chosen form as possible.

JO: Erase the idea of an “audience.” You are them and they are you. So, go as deeply into the truth as you can and try to reveal it to yourself without controlling it. That’s magic. That’s what we love about art and that’s why it’s vital to any culture that wishes to evolve.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

JO: Have a good day. Go outside. Respect the Earth.

Catch Davis and Oliver in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at freeFall until August 31st. For dates, times and ticket prices, visit freefalltheatre.com.

- See more at: http://www.articulatesuncoast.com/blogs/performing-arts/8-performing-arts/867-performing-pinellas-eric-davis-and-james-oliver#sthash.z1IAaGiQ.dpuf

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freeFall favorite Kelly Pekar starts her own blog!!

matthewAugust 7th, 2014UncategorizedNo Comments

We’ve turned the internet into a pretty powerful place for self-expression, don’t you think? Social media sites, blogs, and the power of the almighty YouTube give our complex humanoid egos a platform to vent, express our passions, and find others who share (or don’t) our views, in seconds. At the tap of a mouse. In our pajamas. With Thai food in our lap.

We feel validated and less alone when we think someone (or several thousand someones) share our experiences, frustrations, and general confusion about the world we are creating. It feels good to be heard. Especially when we feel wronged – personally, or as a society. The internet seems to be a pretty safe channel for “getting it all out,” without an actual human, face-to-face confrontation.

And just as I believe that personal blogs, Facebook status updates, and Twitter feeds can be cathartic places for these kinds of self-expression, I’m equally fascinated and inspired by how much incredible light there is out there, too – created by the same flawed and beautiful human race that it’s so easy for us (myself included!) to find fault with. And I wonder what would happen if we added a stream of thoughtful and well- purposed celebration to the mix of everything else we are putting out into the wild and wonderful world of the interwebs.

We will never be able to eliminate every single bit that seems wrong to us, on this planet. We can, however become detectives for the good – and by shining our flashlights on what is WORKING in our community and in our world, we make ourselves more aware of the incredible quantity of brilliance that exists in our lives. I very much believe that this awareness and constant mining of what is life-giving and beautiful in our current situation makes us attract, create, and inspire others to perpetuate more light and goodness in our own lives, and the lives of others.

In this blog, I will be celebrating one Good Bit, each week. This may range from an act of kindness seen between strangers on the subway, to an awesome organization, to anything that tickles my fancy and merits a celebration for adding a teaspoon of positivity to the planet! Specifically, this blog will hi-light the particular rockstar humans who are making these Little Bits of Good happen. These folks are adding their unique piece to the magical mosaic that is our world. And stepping back, we might just see how great the view is!

I encourage you to read, pass along, and share your own stories if you wish, and feel so inspired! This blog is not meant to act as a vehicle for turning a blind eye to anything that causes distress – but if we’re going to freak out about what makes us rage – why not also freak out about what makes us dance?

I’m a libra. Always searching for balance. And this site is for dancing : )

Stay tuned for the first featured Good Bit, coming at you on Monday, August 11th!

http://littlebitsofgoodblog.com/

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In the Presence of Greatness By Kara Goldberg

matthewJuly 30th, 2014UncategorizedNo Comments

In the Presence of Greatness
By Kara Goldberg

The sun shines brighter on days that I go to work at freeFall Theatre. I can’t think of a better way to spend my day. Playing a character in one of my favorite stories, in my favorite theatre, with some of the most talented artists I’ve ever known. I am one lucky girl.

My name is Kara, I was born and raised here in St. Pete, and I play Nurse Flinn in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’ve been in the theatre for 15 years thanks to the amazing educational theatre that this area has to offer. I graduated from Flagler College in December of 2010. That’s when I heard about a new theatre that would be opening in my home town that January. I did some research, emailed Jim Sorenson about volunteering for The Frogs, and soon arrived at freeFall. I was so impressed with the production value, that I became a regular volunteer and, in time, an intern for the company.

It was during The Frogs that I was first introduced to Roxanne Fay. I watched as she seamlessly stepped in for an actress that had a family emergency. I soon got to know her through her work on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and later in Cabaret, Romeo and Juliet, and The Normal Heart. Not only is Roxanne one of the most talented actresses I’ve seen, but she’s sweet, humble, and funny in real life to boot! What an incredible treat it has been for me to work alongside this woman. I couldn’t imagine anyone better to play, and redefine, the iconic role of Nurse Ratched.

Even more recognizable than Nurse Ratched, the cast needed a capable actor to raise hell as our R.P. McMurphy. Someone who could hold his own against Ms. Fay. A while back I caught wind that the role had been cast, and it was an actor from California. Immediately, my mind went to the 2011 production of Miss Julie starring James Oliver, a California actor. Lucky for us all, my inkling was correct, and James is our McMurphy. Not only do I get to witness him make an extraordinary transformation on stage, but I have learned about his experiences as an actor. If I didn’t already feel like I was in the presence of greatness, Mr. Oliver sealed the deal.

I could go on about each actor. The slew of talent and experience each brings to the table… But you’ll be able to see for yourself when we open in August. What may not be as easy to detect is the incredible amount of work that goes into these productions.

When you walk into the theatre, take note of the realistic broom closet and bathroom on stage. That is thanks to both our set designer Steven Mitchell and light designer Mike Wood. Realize that our costumer, Scott Daniel, has to dress actors that are inches away from the audience, and seen from every angle. Try to understand that our stage manager, Daniel Lemien, has had to keep track of our entire cast and crew. Ensuring that we all show up and speak every word as it’s written. Most important, appreciate that this is the brainchild of our fearless Director, Eric Davis. He ensures that all elements come together beautifully. Leaving you, the audience, with a whole new perspective on life.

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STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS by Roxanne Fay

matthewJuly 22nd, 2014UncategorizedNo Comments

Let me begin by saying this to you:

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Nurse Ratched.
Now- what image has popped in to your head?
Exactly.
Now- forget it.
Can you?

I first saw the film of Cuckoo’s Nest when I was a teenager and I have never forgotten Louise Fletcher- that iron lady in the starched white uniform. The symbol of a seemingly absolute power- a malevolent presence. The bad guy. These many years later, I am learning to love Nurse Ratched. To identify with her. To agree with her. It is the difference between experiencing the world of the ward from the inside as opposed to the outside. In creating a character, one becomes part of a new world, a new reality. Seeing a familiar situation from a completely different angle. Nurse Ratched lives in the world of Kesey and Wasserman’s words and images and under our amazing director, Eric Davis, this world is being revealed and we (the company) are coming to live within it- to its very sounds, smells and colors.
I now see Nurse Ratched from a different perspective- her perspective.

She is not a villain. She is a dedicated professional who has devoted her life to the care and cure of patients she cares for deeply. These are her children. When a foreigner-
a bully- appears in her schoolyard, her instinct to protect her brood from outside danger and temptation kicks in to full force. She will do what she must to maintain safety and order in her world- her family’s world. She will fight the enemy- who is, to her, the real bad guy.

I have been fortunate enough to be called upon to portray some iconic roles during my career- Eliza Doolittle, Sally Bowles, Lady Macbeth to mention a few- characters who are themselves famous, and have often been played by famous people.

I spent the summer season of 2000 in the Steppenwolf professional training company, the year that their production of Cuckoo’s Nest opened, and watched Amy Morton as Nurse Ratched several times.

Louise Fletcher won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Nurse Ratched.

Very big shoes.

It is somewhat intimidating, but it is ultimately such a rich gift to experience what it is that makes this role so immortal and to step in to the very skin of an iconic image.

I am truly honored to have the opportunity to create this woman anew, in this place, with this cast and this company- our world of Cuckoo’s Nest will be like no other because of them and this reality.

Roxanne Fay is currently starring as Nurse Ratched in freeFall’s production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST opening August 2 for 22 performances. Call 727-498-5205 or visit www.freefalltheatre.com for tickets and times. Learn more about Roxanne at www.roxannefay.com!

 

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ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST wraps up freeFall’s 2013/14 Season

matthewJuly 14th, 2014UncategorizedNo Comments

freeFall Theatre’s production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST will open August 2 for a limited run of only 22 performances. Previews begin on August 1 and the play closes on August 31. James Oliver (freeFall’s MISS JULIE, NBC’s Frasier) and award-winning actress Roxanne Fay (Creative Loafing’s Best Actress – Best of the Bay 2013) star and Eric Davis directs. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST is the final show of freeFall’s 2013/14 Season of Outcasts. freeFall’s new season begins in the fall with Stephen Sondheim’s INTO THE WOODS.

Oliver (McMurphy) and Fay (Nurse Ratched) are joined by Michael Nichols (Chief Bromden in 2001 Broadway Production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST).

Rounding out the large cast are Bob Devin Jones, Steve Garland, Larry Alexander, Ward Smith, Rick Stutzel, Robert Richards, Kara Goldberg, Natalie Symons, Aaron Washington, Greyson Lewis, Peter Konowicz and Hannah Benitez.

The design team includes Steven K. Mitchell (sets), Scott Daniel (costumes), Mike Wood Lighting Design (lights) and Eric Davis (sound).

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST is a Dale Wasserman stage version of Ken Kesey’s novel. The book was also made into the famous 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson. freeFall’s production will be staged environmentally in the same vein of freeFall hits THE WILD PARTY, MAN OF LA MANCHA and CABARET. All seating will be General Admission as patrons will be seated on various styles of hospital furniture and will be placed amongst the action. Tickets are already going fast for the theatrical event of the summer.

Contact Matthew McGee at 727-498-5205 (X 7) for information on group rates and guided set tours. Adult ticket prices range from $29 – $44 and discount tickets can be obtained by contacting the box office.

For more information, visit www.freefalltheatre.com or call (727) 498-5205.

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Check out freeFall’s new video blog #freeFall411!

adminMarch 13th, 2013UncategorizedNo Comments

Hello freeFall fans and friends! This is our first episode of freeFall411 hosted by Outreach Director Matthew McGee. On March 7, 2013, freeFall held their annual Season Announcement Party at The Club at Treasure Island. Here’s an inside look at the festivities.#freeFall411 (Episode 1)

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Celebrate 2013 with laughter! Michael Hollinger’s An Empty Plate comes to freeFall!!

adminDecember 31st, 2012UncategorizedNo Comments

Hi freeFall fans and friends!

“An Empty Plate in the where?” I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard patrons say that over the past few months. This Michael Hollinger play is the perfect way to ring in 2013. Here’e the skinny on why you should check out freeFall’s newest offering opening on January 25.

What’s the show about?

Eccentric Victor is owner and sole patron of the finest restaurant in Paris which opens its doors for him alone. So when he returns from the bullfights in Spain and announces that he wishes to die of starvation, the staff – whose purpose in life is to serve – propose a compromise. They will cook one final meal and leave it in the kitchen, describing each course over a series of empty plates. This feast of words celebrates love, food, and the collected works of Ernest Hemingway.

What else has Michael Hollinger written?

FULL-LENGTH PLAYS:

  • Ghost-Writer (2010)
  • A Wonderful Noise (musical), co-authored with Vance Lehmkuhl
  • Opus (2006)
  • Tooth and Claw (2004)
  • Red Herring (2000)
  • Tiny Island (1997)
  • Incorruptible (1996)
  • An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf (1994)

Opus was recently a hit at American Stage. Michael Hollinger was formerly a violinist turned playwright and now teaches theatre at Villanova University.

Who’s in the freeFall production?

Our production stars freeFall Gene D’Alessandro as Victor ,Matthew McGee as Claude, Natalie Symons as Mimi, John Lombardi as Gaston and Roxanne Fay as Miss Berger. Greyson Lewis, star of American Stage’s The Foreigner, makes his freeFall debut as Antoine. The production is directed by freeFall Artistic Director Eric Davis.

How do I get tickets?

Visit freefalltheatre.com or call 727-498-5205 for tickets and times. An Empty Plate plays through February 17. Only at freeFall Theatre Company!

See you at the theatre!

Matthew McGee

Community Outreach Director

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

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Steven Patterson returns as Ebenezer Scrooge!

adminNovember 21st, 2012UncategorizedNo Comments

 

 

Hi freeFall fans and friends!

This is Matthew, freeFall’s Community Outreach Director! I’m so excited to be giving you the 411 on all things freeFall. I recently had a wonderful chat with actor Steven Patterson. Steven was delighted to chat about playing one of the greatest and most recognized roles in theatrical and literary history.

Matthew: How does it feel to play Scrooge again?

Steven: After 42+ years as a “theater professional”, I can still count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve been lucky enough to revisit a role I’ve loved. I find the work I did during my first crack at the part, far from being lost or dormant, has been like a seed working away underground, waiting for another chance to blossom. One of the reviews from freeFall’s initial production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL last season called Ebenezer Scrooge “one of the greatest roles ever devised for an actor.” And I have to agree. Scrooge is a man who feels that only by hoarding up “treasures on earth” can he guarantee that he won’t experience again the pain and loss that poverty brought him in his youth. But over the course of the visit of the three ghosts, he discovers that, rather than protecting him, the wall of wealth he has accumulated has trapped him inside it. And that only by repudiating his selfish isolation and reaching out to those around him can he truly come back to life. “Business? Mankind was my business!” wails Marley’s Ghost, doomed forever to an afterlife of regret from which he hopes to spare his old partner. And boy, do our hearts leap when Scrooge finally embraces the second chance he has been given.

Matthew: Why does freeFall’s version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL work so well?

Steven: Countless productions in an infinite variety of stage versions have made A CHRISTMAS CAROL one of the staples of the American theatre repertoire. And many of these productions have so emphasized a sentimentality and cutesiness that isn’t inherent in Dickens’ original that a lot of actors (and audiences) tend to roll their eyes condescendingly when it is mentioned. It’s a lot like Thornton Wilder’s OUR TOWN in that respect. Far from gooey and nostalgic, both are, in reality, profound archetypal stories with an ability to reach audiences on an almost primal level. This wonderful new musical version (and Eric Davis’ magnificent staging), by going back to the source (and even retaining huge swaths of Dickens’ original language), restores the power that has made this tale a classic, one that we never really tire of re-hearing, and one that seldom fails to move us.

Matthew: How did you find out about freeFall?

Two years ago, I ran into my dear friend and colleague Roxanne Fay in the Equity Audition Lounge in New York City. She mentioned to me that she’d been working with a relatively new company down in St. Petersburg and that I should send them my headshot and resume for casting consideration. Since then, freeFall has given me the privilege of playing two hugely iconic roles: Quixote/Cervantes in MAN OF LA MANCHA and Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. How they ever had the nerve to entrust these amazing parts to me, I’ll never know. But I’m infinitely grateful that they did. Gee, one of these days I’ll have to come down here and play an average Joe. In the meantime, I’m hoping that they’ll continue bringing me back as Scrooge until I keel over.

We are so thrilled that Steven is back on the boards at freeFall! Don’t miss A CHRISTMAS CAROL running December 13 – 30!

Yours in Theatre,

Matthew

 

 

 

 

 

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