Stacy Skinner is a Hedgerow pro. She has been seen in Hamlet, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and for several years Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. She is also one of the best people you could ever meet. Today, get to know one of the best actors Hedgerow has ever had:
1) Why do you enjoy doing A Christmas Carol?
What better way to spend December than steeped in this beautiful story of hope and redemption? While everyone around me is scurrying around to prepare for the holiday, I am feasting on the delicious words of Dickens and sharing them with school students, folks in our community, and the other artists with which I get to “play in the Hedgerows”. This is my fifth year being a part of Hedgerow’s A Christmas Carol. It has become my holiday tradition, spending this season with the Hedgerow company and the beautifully crafted characters of Dickens. I have a much loved family of my own, mind you, but they have indulged my yearly desire to spend a great deal of December in Victorian England!
2) Why do you think people enjoy Charles Dickens?
At our core, there is so much of the human experience that we share that transcends culture and even time. Dickens speaks to that sameness, in the way that Shakespeare did, and in the way many a great writer does whose work endures. This quote, I think, sums it up well:
“We read Dickens not just because he was a man of his own times, but because he was a man for our times as well. We read Dickens because his perception and investigation of the human psyche is deep, precise, and illuminating, and because he tells us things about ourselves by portraying personality traits and habits that might seem all too familiar. His messages about poverty and charity have traveled through decades, and we can learn from the experiences of his characters almost as easily as we can learn from our own experiences.” Jon Michael Varese
3) What is your favorite part of doing this story?
I will answer that by sharing one of my favorite passages of the story, which as a narrator I spoke in years past but which a version of is now spoken by Scrooge: “Much they saw and far they went and many homes they visited. The Spirit stood beside sick beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands, and they were close to home; by struggling men, and they were patient in their greater hopes; by poverty, and it was rich.” What these lines communicate is so rich, helping me to re-adjust my own heart and find perspective. There were some lines in Hamlet that also struck a cord within me every time I heard them. To have such powerful language with which to make theatre, there is nothing like it!
4) Who do you play in the piece? Which is your favorite part? Why
Every year my main character has been one of the narrators, or storytellers as I prefer to call them. Most years I have also played the solicitor and other minor characters. This year, for the first time, I am playing Mrs. Cratchit and Caroline, which is a great treat for me. Although I love the opportunity to play different characters, narrating is really my favorite part. It feels like I have this gift to give the audience, helping to unfold this story for them, and I really enjoy that. It also reminds me of the many, many hours of reading aloud to both of my now grown sons, being the main storyteller in their lives. And isn’t sharing great stories what theatre is all about?