Lights, mics, action! Radio production begins rehearsals for Christmas play

Kaatza Lakeside Players production, A Christmas Carol, set to begin on Dec. 5 and run to Dec. 8.

Mark your calendars, A Christmas Carol, the next Kaatza Lakeside Players production, is set to begin on Dec. 5 and run to Dec. 8.

Cast members have been chosen by creative director Dena McPhee, and they have now begun a rehearsal schedule of twice a week, currently out of Studio 261 on South Shore Road.

Edward Lentz, a newcomer to Lake Cowichan, was chosen to play the infamous Scrooge.

Lentz says he didn’t expect to land the role, and was actually hoping to play Marley’s Ghost.

“Because that’s what I did with my kids for years,” said Lentz. “That’s what I really was good at with them, scaring them half to death when they were little. So I was just blown away when it was announced in the last rehearsal that I was Scrooge.”

Lentz says he was also a bit nervous auditioning in general as he is new to Kaatza Players and Lake Cowichan.

Some of the cast members have had to take on more than one role for the play, as it is a radio stage production and there will be 12 roles playing 29 characters.

Bruce Bunting has been assigned the role of Bob Cratchit.

Bunting says he was aiming for any role that comes along. “There are no small roles, only small actors,” he said.

He says there will be a few challenges with the role of Cratchit.

“Of course there’s the scene where Tiny Tim dies. It’s difficult to do because you need a lot of emotion in your voice. Since it’s supposed to be a radio show I tend to be more than just the voice when I do that, it helps,” said Bunting.

The radio show aspect of the production will mean that actors will be speaking into microphones when they are on stage, and though some expressed that they will find this a challenge because they have been taught to project their voices for stage plays, Bunting feels quite the opposite.

“You can put a little more into your voice,” he says, adding that acoustically Centennial Hall is not the best for plays.

“So we are constantly being told, when there is no mics, to speak succinctly and loudly so people can hear you. With mics, you can speak in a more normal voice which will be very helpful.”

Taking on the role of Mrs. Cratchit is Annette Jamieson. She will also be playing the roles of Mrs. Dilbert and Guest 3, but she doesn’t see that doing so will be too much of a challenge.

Though Jamieson has never acted in a Kaatza Players production, she has organized a theatre group and put on a dinner theatre for the RCMP in Duncan.

Mrs. Cratchit is the role that Jamieson says she was aiming for during auditions.

Ashely Vomacka is another actress that will be taking on more than one role, but her main part with be that of Fanny Scrooge.

McPhee says choosing the actors for these and the other roles was one of the hardest things she’s had to do because of the challenge that a radio stage play, with actors often playing more than one character, poses.

She adds that she is still looking for someone to take on the role of the Narrator.

“We had someone, but his wife fell ill and he had to withdraw,” she said. “It’s a big role.”

She says she is looking preferably for a male voice, but will not turn away anyone who thinks they can take on the role.

Cast and crew now have approximately 10 weeks to prepare for the big night, and are already hard at work. Look for updates and ticket information on the Kaatza Players website by going to kaatzalakesideplayers.ca.