Lyric Arts had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Florman to talk about playing the beloved playwright, Charles Dickens and his love for Christmas. Read the interview below!
LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular show interested you.
SF: I’ve always liked Charles Dickens, and I also enjoy the Christmas shows at Lyric Arts and the energy and spirit that they have. Working with Dann Peterson again is a privilege as well.
LA: What character do you play in the show? What is your back story?
SF: I play Dickens himself, who acts as the narrator and hovers around during the entire play. The action basically acts itself out in his imagination. As with much of his writing, elements of A Christmas Carol are autobiographical – the plight of the English poor, the life of tradespeople and clerks, and so on. Since the original story is not a play, Dickens’ presence as narrator helps to tie the story elements together and adds continuity. Some of my best lines are direct quotes from the book – and Dickens was a truly great wordsmith.
LA: For those that are unfamiliar with A Christmas Carol can you tell us about the show?
SF: Miserly, miserable old Scrooge hasn’t had a thought for anyone but himself for years – and he hasn’t let himself be too happy, either. Through the intervention of the ghost of his business partner, who arranges a series of visits from the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future, Scrooge comes to see himself as he was, is, and will be – and he experiences a miraculous change of heart.
LA: Why do you think A Christmas Carol such a beloved Christmas show for people?
SF: It’s a story that we can all relate to, no matter what our religious convictions or political beliefs. It makes all of us think about what we could be doing for others, and helps us to realize, as Marley did, that Mankind and the common welfare are truly our business.
LA: What is your favorite part of Christmas and the holiday season?
SF: It is a close family time for us, something I get from my late mother who loved the Christmas season. For me, it is also very much a time to ponder the birth and mission of Jesus Christ, who gives me and all humankind the hope of exaltation and eternal life.
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of A Christmas Carol?
SF: We have a very creative set that allows us to use the Lyric Arts stage to maximum advantage. I think people will enjoy seeing how everything moves and changes in harmony as the scenes change throughout the show. It is not only well-written, but so well-acted. There won’t be a dry eye in the house.
LA: Comment on the talent level in the cast.
SF: We have been truly blessed. None of these people are really “amateurs” except that they don’t get paid. We have some very experienced and talented people, dedicated to the craft of theater, with great skill at timing and nuance. I have learned a lot from them.