Guest blogger Lansia Wann is back for her Opening Night Party entry into the PTC blog.
‘Tis the season!
Every holiday season, I always expect something festive to be on stage – music and dancing just makes it all the more cheerful. This year’s holiday production, I have got to say, is probably my favorite thus far, A Christmas Carol.
Now, let me brief this by saying, when thinking about it…. I could not, for the life of me, remember actually watching A Christmas Carol - movie nor play. But it’s such a classic and I knew that I had seen or heard it somewhere. The story wasn’t new to me. *shakes head* Did I see the movie? I assume so… but when? Where? What version?! *shrugs* Apparently, there have been many, many films….
Okay, so I had no idea from where or when I remember the tale, but I knew it. As I sat down and rehashed this same conversation with my friend, Heather, she mentioned that we would be watching a musical. *nods* Is there dancing? “So much dancing!” – she tells me. What?! So. Awesome. The more the better, I say to myself! I’m a sucker for vivacious musicals.
Well, there you have it. This was how the pre-show went for Heather and me. As for the show, let me highlight our evening for you…
8:00pm – A recording of adorable adolescents remind us to turn off all electronics during the play.
8:05pm – It begins. Cast members flood the stage. Gee, this is a huge cast.
**wide-eyed awe of dancing**
8:30ishpm – Marley’s ghost! Wow, all those props must be heavy.
**wide-eyed awe of dancing**
9:00ishpm – Intermission. Already?!
9:20ishpm – Hmm… the ghost of Christmas present… I want to play those bells.
**wide-eyed awe of dancing**
10:00pm (or before) – Fin. Heather dares me to stand up and applaud. Done.
10:15pm – We walk up to the balcony to see the cool clock on the stage.
10:30pm – Off to speak with the cast.
On a whim, I thought it’d be more interesting to see what personal ghost stories I could uncover from the cast rather than reiterating a classic tale. Why retell something that everyone knows, eh? Anyway, not expecting any stories of the paranormal, there were actually a few surprises…
JAMIE JACKSON/Ebenezer Scrooge
“No. Nothing more to say, really. I’ve heard lots of stories about people experiencing supernatural visitations, but everyone I’ve met is boringly flesh and blood! But now I’m playing Scrooge, perhaps you should ask me again on Christmas morning…”
Never would I have pegged this laid-back Aussie to play the grouchy, British Scrooge on stage.
SHALEE MORTENSEN SCHMIDT/Mrs. Cratchit
“Okay, I haven’t seen one, but I actually live in a house that is full of ghosts so we’ve actually had to have clearings…. we’ve had it twice. And now my daughter says that a ghost is actually reappearing again. We’ve had multiple people come to the house and say, do you know that you have a man that sits in a chair on that stair, and you have two girls that sit on that stair? And upstairs, there was a really cranky woman that sits with another scared woman. So yes, I’ve felt them, but I’ve not seen them… It bugs me that other people see them and I don’t.
“The other night, we were actually putting our Christmas tree up and a friend was there and he said, do you know you have a little boy that keeps running down the stairs and he keeps jumping over the rail and out the front door? And he keeps doing it over and over.”
Shalee lives in the Avenues here in Salt Lake. Bewarrrrrre.
ASHLEY GARDNER CARLSON/Sally
“Oh no, I can’t even believe in that stuff because I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. As it is, I have to sleep with my TV on!
“Okay, so when I was a kid there was this game that we would play. Well, I’d never play it because I believed in it too much. You said, like, ‘Bloody Mary’ in the mirror three times and you turn around? So, sometimes, occasionally, when it’s really dark, I imagine some chick, like in The Ring, with long dark hair hanging in front of her face? I don’t think anything would creep me out more than something like that. I can’t even watch horror movies. I’m a chicken!”
I almost told Ashley my story about living in Japan when I was in junior high.
A few friends went into an empty classroom and made this home-made Ouija board. They asked a question in Japanese and used a coin as the pointer. I kid you not, it moved, it jolted, it totally worked. Paper, pen and a yen over a $20-ish board game. I was impressed and creeped out all at the same time.
But, I didn’t want to freak Ashley out.
JARON BARNEY/Charity Man, Young Marley (left)
“You know whose ghost would scare me the most? I used to be terrified of Michael Jackson when I was a kid. And I’m. Not. Joking. Because I saw Thriller, the music video when I was a kid – it gave me nightmares and I was afraid of it throughout my whole childhood. If that came back and haunted me for some weird reason, I would just die.
“Well, if it were Michael Jackson that popped out of the grave, I might just pee my pants.” <–in awe, not horror, I believe, he said that…
I suggest that Jaron try to reverse his fear by watching 13 Going On 30. I hope that helps.
GREGORY NEFF/Ensemble (right)
“On my mission in Kentucky, I used to volunteer at a[n]…insane asylum, almost, for children back in, like, Civil War era. They added onto the building and me and my companion were going to get Christmas trees. We had the only key to the elevator, which is kind of creepy, but, after bringing a couple loads down, we go downstairs. I walk through some double doors and I see this figure walk into the elevator, click a button and go up. And, we are the only ones with the keys to actually go into the elevator. The elevator’s on the third floor when we get to it. Worst experience! I freaked out. My companion was laughing at me the whole time.”
Jaron and I laughed a little too at Greg’s story. *teeheehee*
ROBERT ANTHONY JONES (and friend)/Beadle, Fezziwig
“I have never seen a ghost, but I am very scared of them. Yes, I am a believer.
“If we are talking in context of the show, I bet Marley’s ghost would really scare me. Yes, so, Justin Ivie, on a regular basis scares me. Ghost-wise, it’s off the charts.”
Robert, aka RAJ, has the best (if not one of the best) moves on the show. Look for it! It’s called the heel touch. Well, I call it the heel touch. I’ve asked him to incorporate a double heel touch. If you’re at a show, let me know if this gets done! It’s so awesome, I want to try and incorporate it into my every day… Hrm….
Oh, P.S.: Justin is, in reality, a super sweet guy in case you were wondering. *smiley face*
NIKOL WOLF/Ensemble, Dance Captain
“So, I was just working at Flat Rock Playhouse, in North Carolina. We were housed in a cottage that was built in the 1840s. We were actually not in the main house, we were in the side house which was the slave quarters. Now, within the slave quarters, the house that I was in, it was fine. But the main house! I have never walked into a house and felt a presence so strongly. And it’s all original furniture, all 19th century furniture, and the woman that lived there, she had just died a couple of months ago. You walk into the living room and there’s this giant portrait of her just staring at you. It was one of those that no matter where you were in the room… she’s looking at you! I used to have to go in there to, like, borrow a vacuum cleaner or something. Every single time I went in there, I was like, ‘Hi, it’s me. I’m just borrowing the vacuum cleaner. I promise I’m going to bring it back. Thank you so much for letting me stay in your home…okay, I’m outta here. Bye!’
“It was actually kind of sad to me that I didn’t learn more about her, but I did have this experience where one night… I woke up in the middle of the night and I swore that someone was in my room and they had been staring down at me…. I don’t know who it was but it was a woman, it might’ve been her. So, I just try to be respectful of her space, respectful of her home and say, ‘I thank you for letting me stay here and I really hope I don’t anger you!’”
JESSICA AZENBERG (and niece)/Ensemble
“My only ghost experience is that one time, I was playing the piano. We have an old metronome sitting on the piano at home and I was playing very passionately and the metronome just went off! On its own – I didn’t set it, no one set it beforehand. And it just went, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, all on its own. That is my only ghost story.”
GEOFFREY HEMINGWAY/Young Scrooge
“I’ve never seen a ghost, but actually, I’m a huge fan of old prisons, like Alcatraz. I’ve been to Alcatraz, like, nine times. And they have one in Philadelphia called Eastern State Penitentiary. It’s shut down and you can take a tour of it… There’s a certain feeling that you get… and I find it fascinating.
“One time, I was at Alcatraz and ran into a park ranger… He took me underneath it like where the old Civil War caves and dungeons were… It was amazing.
“I would love to go to the Bermuda Triangle, but it would be terrifying. You know? Because you might never come back… You could be just drinking a coconut with Amelia Earhart, hanging out, and never come back again. It’s scary! People get lost down there and are never seen again.”
Actually, would hanging out with Amelia and drinking coconuts be worth the risk of never coming back again? That one may require some thinking abouts…
KEVIN EARLEY/Bob Cratchit
“I believe that there is probably the existence of ghosts…. I don’t really have any stories though.
“I think some older theatres may have some ghost stories and maybe this theatre does… I think it was built in the ’60s and at some point, maybe there were some ghost stories?”
Can any Pioneer Theatre historians give us a take on any good ghost stories from the olden days?
ADAM PELLEGRINE/Charity Man (right)
“I actually have seen a ghost. This is a true story. So I grew up, and I lived in one of the oldest houses in the town in which I lived. And there was the spirit of a little boy who lived in our house. I know that it sounds like it’s crazy and cuckoo. But I grew up with this little boy!
“My mother would see a little boy out of the corner of her eye,and she would yell at me to go to bed… She would think that it was me and she would go and check on me but I would be passed out in bed. But she would have just seen this little boy playing in the kitchen.
“I grew up with this presence in my life. It didn’t scare me or freak me out at all; it was just there.”
I asked Adam if it was like a calming, brotherly type of relationship? Or perhaps just an accepted fact that this spirit boy was living in his house…
“I think it was more accepted because I don’t think it would ever be calming to know that a dead kid was living in your house.”
JEFF KUHR/Ensemble (left)
“I’ve been in a couple of ghost stores where like, the Mothman Prophecies were filmed. No personal experiences, but it was neat to be in that area.”
I guess Jeff really couldn’t beat Adam’s story…
Share your holiday season with Pioneer Theatre Company for their incredibly fun production of A Christmas Carol. It runs November 30 through December 15, 2012, eight times a week! May your holidays be filled with laughter and joy in addition to PTC’s three life-changing ghosts of Christmas.
Lansia is a semi-pro social media artist – having blogged professionally and casually. An art major herself, Lansia loves to support and participate in the creative community: theatre, film, music, photography, writing, performance and art just to name a few off the tip of the tongue. In addition to her writing, she loves to cook, eat, travel, play, adventure and rock the headphones. Find her personal blog at http://daphnelcc.wordpress.com.
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