On the third interview of Christmas, Wolf Pack Theatre Company did give to TheatreBloom— three trips back in time to the days of young Belle and young Ebenezer Scrooge. Played by Brigid Lally and Dwayne Allen respectively, these talented performers give us their insight to the true meaning of Christmas as we follow along the journey of the TheatreBloom exclusive interview series and discover what it’s like for the young ingénues in Wolf Pack’s Christmas Carol.
Merry Christmas, Brigid! Merry Christmas, Dwayne! So glad to have you both with us! If you could give us a quick introduction of who you’re playing in this production and what work you’ve done with Wolf Pack previously we’ll get underway.
Brigid Lally: My name is Brigid Lally and I play Young Belle in Christmas Carol and I’m betrothed to Young Ebenezer Scrooge who I like to call Ebi…
Dwayne Allen: That’s me!
Brigid: Yes, that’s you! The other shows I’ve done with The Wolf Pack is Nunsense, and Forsaken Angels. Am I missing anything? I don’t think so.
Dwayne: So my name is Dwayne Allen and I’m playing Young Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, and I just finished playing Alex in Wolf Pack’s Forsaken Angels and that was my first show here in Maryland.
What is your favorite Christmas Story, your favorite Christmas movie, and your favorite Christmas song?
Brigid: Well, one of my favorite Christmas movies is Scrooge featuring Albert Finney because it’s a drama and a musical. It has a lot of theatrical decisions that had to be used in that movie. For example, with Jacob Marley, there was not much use of special effects way back when it was made so it was all just theatrical ghost movement. My favorite Christmas song would have to be “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” along with “Lo ere a Rose is Blooming.” And I think if I had to pick a singer for “Merry Little Christmas” it’s Bing Crosby. My favorite Christmas stories are The Grinch and The Polar Express. And not that awful movie. The original story, along with my daddy’s voice to go with it. And my mom supplies the bell every Christmas.
Dwayne: Favorite Christmas movie is bar far The Christmas Shoes. And I refuse to take any of the hate from anyone who doesn’t love it. It’s so sweet, and adorable, and touching, and sentimental! And I cry every time that I watch it. It’s so sad! And it’s my favorite Christmas song too! But if you’re looking for Christmas carols you have to go to “O, Holy Night.” I know, I’m so basic. I was born of the Hallmark channel era. I’m a Hallmark baby.
Brigid: Ooh, that reminds me. I like Boyfriend for Christmas. That’s a Hallmark movie. That one was clever.
Dwayne: But Christmas Shoes is adorable! And it’s heartwarming!
What about your favorite Christmas story, Dwayne?
Brigid: Do you want me to start naming them for you?
Dwayne: Hmm. I don’t know. There are just so many.
Brigid: There’s Rudolph—
Dwayne: Oh, no. I was never a big Rudolph fan.
Brigid: Okay, there’s Frosty, and the two I mentioned, and then the one about how Santa Claus became to be Santa Claus…
Dwayne: This is going to sound terrible especially since I’m in this show but I was never a big Christmas person as a kid. I mean my family celebrated it but I never really found the Christmas spirit until the last two years? So I’m still discovering my Christmas stories.
Why did you want to be involved with the Wolf Pack production of Christmas Carol?
Brigid: Well originally I had wanted to be a part of it last year but I couldn’t because I was in a Panto show with The British Players. Plus I love the story in general. It doesn’t matter what version, I just want to do it at least once. So here I am.
Dwayne: I’m very similar to Brigid that I just wanted to do a version of it. There’s always a lot of companies doing it. I had a lot of fun working with Forsaken Angels. Er, I can’t say that— it was a play about sex trafficking. Let me try again. I had a really good experience working with Forsaken Angels and I had fun with that cast. So I figured Young Scrooge is a good character and I won’t be able to play him too much longer, so ‘git er done!’
If you could give Scrooge one Christmas present, what would you give him and why?
Brigid: Oh my gosh, Dwayne, you are so in character. That look on your face just says “what would I give to myself?”
Dwayne: I know, right?
Brigid: I think the greatest gift that Belle can give him every year is her heart and her devoted love for the rest of her life. But I know since Scrooge is a practical man, I guess I’d give him one of those old fashioned banker books along with the counter thingy.
Dwayne: Oh like a ledger book!
Brigid: Yes. A ledger book along with a quill and ink.
Dwayne: Huh. What do I think Scrooge needs? I feel like most of what Scrooge needs is stuff that isn’t monetary, it’s stuff that should be given from the heart, and not just on Christmas but every day. So I don’t just want to give him something for Christmas, I think he needs more of a year-round family atmosphere in his life.
What do you think is the message that this particular production of Christmas Carol is sending?
Brigid: This production is very different from most traditional productions. But from my view of the way that this is presented I think the message is that there are so many different ways that you can view the story of Scrooge. In this way— it’s okay to be practical, and prepared, and have a life plan of security. But you also need to back off and look at where are you at now with your humanity.
Dwayne: Going off of that, yes having a plan but needing to realize that you’re not the only one that has a plan, and realizing that everyone around you is a part of that plan whether you want them to be or not.
Brigid: That’s right, I have hopes and dreams too, Ebi.
Dwayne: I know, right?
Do you guys believe in the magic and miracles of Christmas? Have you ever experienced a Christmas miracle?
Brigid: I do.
Dwayne: I do too.
Brigid: And I wouldn’t say this is a Christmas miracle because it didn’t happen on Christmas, it was more during Thanksgiving. But back in 1995 my family and I experienced a house fire. I was coming down the end of my street, I’d just gotten off the school bus. My mom was really worried that someone was in the house, and my dad hadn’t showed up yet. Fortunately no one was in the house, and when my dad finally showed up he just said, “Yeah. Let’s go to Outback Steakhouse.” And the thing was— the point of this whole story— is that we were all together, safe and together. And ever since that day on November 14, up until I started college, we would always meet up at Outback. That was our miracle, being all together and not being in the house when it caught fire.
Dwayne: Mine is also kind of a togetherness story. I came out when I was 15. FYI— I’m gay.
Brigid: Wait, you’re gay?
Dwayne: I know, right?
Brigid: I think that explains where Ebi and Belle went wrong…guess it wasn’t just the money…
Dwayne: Oh my God! You’re right! Anyway! So my parents never took it really well at Christmas after I’d come out. But the first Christmas that I brought somebody home, that was the first time I was ever dating someone at Christmas time so I brought them home, it was like any discrimination they had had was just thrown out the window. Suddenly there was this family feeling. Now my family is only like three hours away, so we’re always together on Christmas. And ever since THAT Christmas there have been no more feelings of discrimination.
What’s your favorite Christmas food?
Dwayne: Ahh…I love food. Glazed ham with pineapple.
Brigid: My mom’s homemade sausage stuffing that’s made with three breads— pumpernickel, rye bread, and potato bread. And Italian mildly spiced sausage. The best thing? Day after? Leftover surprise with gravy. We know how to eat. We eat like wolves!
What has been the most challenging thing for you about this production of Christmas Carol?
Brigid: It would be trying to experience a breakup that I’ve actually gone through in life now with someone who I’ve been a good co-worker and friend with. Comparing to my past relationships, the breakup was very hard to do and it actually pained me to do that. So it’s going to be difficult to turn that emotion off with Dwayne, and I just like him so much!
Dwayne: Silly answer but coming from everything I’ve done so far is just being happy. Everything I’ve done on stage for the past two years has been so dark and heavy. So just coming into a new light and being like “Oh wait, you can smile on stage and it’s not coming from a bitter place of sadness.” Even when we’re rehearsing “Jingle Bells” I have to keep reminding myself to just smile.
Brigid: You have such a great smile. You’ll never have wrinkles when you get old.
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
Brigid: My brothers and I would always have a wrapping paper contest. We would get really creative with our wrapping, especially Devon and I. Devon is the fourth brother, he’s the youngest of the oldest if that makes sense. He’s four or five years older than me. To give you an example of how crazy creative we’d get— if I had gotten someone the Batman Beyond DVD I would wrap it and give it a little cape. So to outdo me Devon, who had gotten a Star Wars present for my older brother, wrapped it in the shape of a Tie-Fighter. He scrunched up paper, used cardboard it actually looked like a Tie-Fighter and was very surprising.
Dwayne: Like I said I didn’t really start getting into celebrating Christmas until after I’d moved out for college. So what I really like is the night before Christmas and the morning of Christmas? I get to help my parents wrap presents for everyone else. We’re not super traditional when it comes to it. We don’t put all the presents under the tree. We put numbers on the present and hide them all around the house. So you tell the kids “Go find this present,” and they’ll run off and bring us a present. And we’ll say “Oh, sorry, that’s not yours, go put it back and find another one!” We just make a whole day of running through the house and unwrapping things. It’s so nice just making the morning coffee and watching the kids scurry around searching for presents.
If you could have just one present for Christmas, what would you have?
Brigid: I would actually have to go back in time and ask to have the homemade carousel that my dad and my brothers made for me.
Dwayne: The what?
Brigid: They made me a homemade carousel. So my dad’s an attorney and he was helping this guy build a park and the guy had an extra topper model for the park, so my dad asked if he could take it home, he told the guy he was going to make something for his daughter. My dad and my brothers got random Barbie horses and a spinner and they made me a carousel.
Dwayne: Really materialistically? Not much at this point. It’s really just going home for Christmas. And food. I love me some good food. And cookies. Please I want cookies.
Brigid: We’re actors, we’re animals when it comes to food.
Dwayne: Yes. Free food. What’s free? Wait— is there free food?
Brigid: Mmm. Food.
If Young Scrooge could have one thing for Christmas, what would he want?
Dwayne: Young Scrooge, oh…
Brigid: Perhaps if you look to your right you might have your answer?
Dwayne: …Nah. Wait, you come with money, right?
Brigid: Um…not much?
Dwayne: Then nah, pass.
What about Young Belle? What would she have for Christmas?
Brigid: She just wants Scrooge, that’s all she’s ever wanted. That and to have a family with him. She’s a simple woman.
Dwayne: Okay, Young Scrooge just wants money, money, money, money. Although from the outside looking in you want to give him Belle and happiness and something to smile about. So if I was giving him a gift I’d just give him Belle.
What is the true meaning of Christmas for you?
Brigid: Not to quote Dwayne and say “Hallmark” but it’s being with the ones you love and your closest friends that you view as family.
Dwayne: The one word that sticks out is love. Togetherness.
Why should people come and see Wolf Pack’s Christmas Carol?
Brigid: Why not?
Dwayne: Because we’re perfect?
Brigid: What else are you going to do? Come see the show!
Dwayne: Because I’m in it!
Brigid: And he has clothes on this time.
Dwayne: Let’s be real here, that’s a deterrent. But come see the show anyhow. You’ll get your healthy dose of Hallmark for the holidays and feel good after.
A Christmas Carol plays through December 19, 2015 at Wolf Pack Theatre Company at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church— 5820 Riverdale Road in Riverdale, MD. For ticket reservations call 240-565-4144 or purchase them online.
To read Day 1 of the “12 Gifts of Wolf Pack…” interview series, featuring Director Bill Leary, click here.
To read Day 2 of the “12 Gifts of Wolf Pack…” interview series, featuring TD Stephen Beitzell, click here.