“Choose a production you have seen during your course in which there was one actor’s performance that you consider to be outstanding. Discuss in detail the performance of one actor, you will need to give details of at least on particular scene or section and include reference to voice, movement, characterisation and relationships between characters on stage.”
The actor I have to chosen to write about is Sam McCarthie, who played the character ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ in the production ‘A Christmas Carol.’ The character is a cold-hearted, tight fisted, selfish man who despises Christmas and all things which engender happiness. The play is about Ebenezer, and how he undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of Christmas Eve night. If the experience doesn’t change Scrooge’s ways, he will end up walking the Earth forever being nothing but an invisible and lonely ghost, like his deceased friend Jacob Marley. Mr. Scrooge is a financier who has devoted his life to the accumulation of wealth. Since the death of his sister, Fan, he holds anything other than money in contempt, including friendship, love and the Christmas Season.
The first scene of the play showed Scrooge (McCarthie) leaning over a desk performing a task to do with his work, and before he spoke you could tell he was not going to turn out to be the nicest character in the play, because his body language reflected his character. As he was writing he was hunched over and frowning, and was impatient with his actions. When his colleague Bob Cratchit leaves at a late hour to go home on Christmas Eve, he snapped back his answers making himself sound superior and as though Bob was in the wrong, he sounded aggressive.
Throughout the first part of the play, up until when his opinions changed and he stopped being so miserly, Sam acted this way. Each answer or command was short and snappy, and he’d square his shoulders making himself not also sound angry and short tempered, but he looked it too.
He used the stage well also, he didn’t stand in one spot the whole time as people can sometimes forget they’re doing, but he moved around, and gesticulated widely, just emphasising how over the top his character was. When he walked, he wouldn’t just walk, he would stamp his feet too. The use of the stage reflected his thoughts on himself. He showed himself as arrogant doing this because it gave the sense he thought he was important and big.
His responses to people were harsh as well, he seemed disinterested and superior, as though no one he spoke to matched up to his standards and they were all below him.
His character changed dramatically though towards the second half of the play. He began to see the what he was doing wrong and as he did, he softened. Sam played the second side of the character just as well as the first, it was almost as though it came naturally to him – convincing. When the ghosts of Christmas showed him the error of his ways and what he had missed out on, and what was to happen to him – the transformation was amazing. He acted differently entirely. He made his hands clasp together although somewhat nervous and humbled, and when he now spoke to others he did so in an enthusiastic tone. He also used vigorous arm movements and gestures, but this time it didn’t make it him look angry, it just added to how much nicer he was, and out to please. He ran around the stage with great enthusiasm, and again used the space well.
Overall, I thought Sam’s performance was outstanding because he made the character so convincing. Some of the actions he used may have been cheesy, but his weren’t, they were just really believable, almost as the character was himself.
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