Simon Russell Beale, Patsy Ferran and Eben Figueiredo discuss the Bridge Theatre's A Christmas Carol
The three performers will tackle Dickens' piece for a newly devised production
There are a few versions of A Christmas Carol about this year – with a fresh take heading to the Bridge Theatre in London from this week. We chat to the show's trio of stars – Eben Figueiredo, Simon Russell Beale and Patsy Ferran – about devising and moulding Charles Dickens' classic. The Bridge production of A Christmas Carol runs from 3 December 2020 to 16 January 2021.
Patsy, three actors taking on the entirety of A Christmas Carol must have been an exciting challenge – what is it that you have relished most about this new project?
There's been a great sense of fun and play in rehearsals. It's forced us to be imaginative, silly and playful which has made this rehearsal process particularly enjoyable.
Eben, this time last year you were wowing in Cyrano de Bergerac – how has the last 12 months been for you and what is the biggest thing you think you've learned during this time?
The last 12 months have been a rollercoaster ride but not as disheartening as they could've been. I think as an actor I'm fairly used to periods out of work and things happening that are out of my control, regardless of the peaks of success that can precede them.
I've made a lot of music this year, which was very therapeutic, and satisfied my creative needs. I learnt that prioritising and doing the things I've wanted to do but hadn't got round to, had a really positive impact on my mental health and my relationship with this strange and difficult year.
Simon, how does it feel taking on one of the most quintessential figures in literary history?
I'm trying to forget that Scrooge is such a well-known character and to rid myself of my preconceptions about him. In fact, when I read Dickens' short story again a few months ago, I was surprised at how complex a character the writer originally created.
Patsy, why do you think the show just fits so seamlessly with all that's happened this year?
It's been a year riddled with uncertainty, fear and anxiety. A Christmas Carol is not only a source of comfort but a gentle reminder to be kind and generous to our "fellow-passengers to the grave" as Scrooge's nephew informs us at the top of the play.
Simon, having last seen you perform "the stage directions" in the reading of James Graham's The Vote in December, how does it now feel devising a show in an entirely new way after months of lockdown? Honestly, it's been a relief to get back to work; although I'm aware of not exactly being match fit. That will come, I hope. But above all, we have all enjoyed the last few weeks immensely.
Eben, what are you looking forward to most while delivering some festive cheer at the Bridge? I'm really looking forward to playing all of these wonderful characters, helping people lose themselves in the magic of this beautiful story and seeing the smiles in their eyes (because that's all we can see of the audience with their masks on) after such a tough time for everyone.