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Trisha Miller has joined our annual A Christmas Carol for the first time ever this year as our Ghost of Christmas Past. Get a fresh perspective on our classic production of a classic holiday fable and read our Q&A with her below!
What about the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past appeals to you most? How does it feel to take on the character as a new cast member this year?
A friend said to me, “What a beautiful role, to remind an old man what happiness is.” How perfect is that? To take Scrooge back to the defining moments of his history, which in our production is designed as vivid and magnified—larger than life–because our childhood memories often feel so weirdly technicolor… well, to me, it feels like a critical task. My favorite moment is after the ball when Scrooge says of Fezziwig:
He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then? The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.
It’s a wonderful reminder of the power we can have on the people around us.
Being one of the few newbies this year has been exciting. I’ve seen this production several times over the past few years, so I had a pretty good idea of what I was being thrown into, but I had no idea the extent to which backstage would be its own show! I have a pretty easy track compared to other cast mates, some of whom have over ten costume changes in the show. To do this show with this group of artists feels like the best imaginable gift this holiday season. Whatever the opposite of “Bah, humbug!” is, it’s this.
Why is A Christmas Carol so timeless?
This is one of the greatest stories of transformative redemption in literature. Everyone can connect to a part of this story. When confronted with our past and our choices, I think we all have regrets and we’re all moved to recall happier, carefree times. It reminds us that we are the producers of our own fate, that empathy is the skeleton key to happiness. It’s also about getting a second chance, much like in Shakespeare’s THE WINTER’S TALE (coming to A Noise Within in February!), where a whole lot of magic floods into a lonely and embittered character. It’s never too late to be happy. What better message could there possibly be?
If you were visited by your own Ghost of Christmas Past, what would that spirit show you?
Oh, dear. That’s a question that’ll keep anyone up at night. I think it’s important for every adult to reconnect with their original WHY. The spark that put them on their path. For me it would be the first time my parents took me to a play. The first time I visited Los Angeles. The first days I fell in love with my partner. I had a little girl come up to me after the show the other day. It was her first experience in a theatre, and that felt like a big responsibility and a great honor. It was an important reminder to me to treat every performance like it’s someone’s first time experiencing what theater can be.
What do you appreciate the most about the holiday season?
Holidays have taken on a whole new level of wonder for me since I became a parent. Instantly, everything is new again and the holidays feel magical again. And we love getting to start new traditions with our five-year-old daughter—which will include taking her to see this production every year. (Some of the ghosts scared her, but she wants to see it again!) I’m looking forward to getting some downtime to relax with my family and friends after a busy year.
What was your first production with A Noise Within?
KING LEAR in the spring of 2017. I immediately felt at home. My training and career before landing in LA was mostly with classical repertory theatre companies, so finding my community here was a wish come true.