Christmas Carol Chronicles, Part XXVIII
Jacqueline Russell, Director of the production of A Christmas Carol currently running at Keyano Theatre has gone home to Calgary. This was her first time coming up here to direct a show, though she had been up here as a young kid. I sent her a few questions to capture her initial thoughts about this Keyano Theatre Company (KTC) experience.
As the dust settles on your KTC experience, what are the highlights that you'll take back to Calgary?
Watching the northern lights dancing pink and green in the sky. Visiting three different art galleries in town and seeing some incredible art. Playing cards against humanity (my first time- I will never be the same). Walking into the theatre everyday with a smile on my lips, knowing I was about to spend time doing what I love most, with some truly delightful people.
What surprised you?
The dedication and commitment. Watching performers who had to be up the next morning at 4 am to go to their day jobs working diligently until 11 pm at night.
What moved you?
Listening to my actors tell me their goals before each run.
The joys in my heart when I saw every actor in the cast take a risk and follow their impulses.
The beautiful gift the cast gave me on opening night.
Why is this kind of community theatre adventure so important, not only for the volunteers on stage, but those who supported our efforts behind the scenes?
One of my favourite quotes about theatre comes from Augusto Boal:
“Theatre is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society. Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it.”
I think that everyone who participates in the process of creating theatre has the chance to feel the potential transformative power of theatre.
Also the backstage shenanigans are a rockin’ good time.
You shared with us that you started your artistic life on the Keyano Theatre stage as a young dancer, as you lived in Fort McMurray for a brief time. What was it like being back in the space after so many years?
Well I was born in Yellowknife, we lived in Fort McMurray when I was little and then we moved back to Yellowknife, so I think the North has always been in my blood. I was only 3 or 4 years old when I performed as a dancing snowflake (or something like that) on the Keyano Stage, so I don’t really have any memory of it….but it was neat to come back to this place and see tiny dancers wandering the halls like I did nearly 30 yea--- Oh Geez, I just realized how old I am!
You have given us so much through this process, lessons and insights that we will carry forever. What impact has this experience had on you?
We teach what we most need to learn. It has reminded me to follow my impulses, take risks and breathe.
It was also the biggest show I have ever directed (in terms of the size of the cast and complexity of the production) so I learned a lot. Mostly about what not to do. But the good thing about me is… I never make the same mistake twice!
A Christmas Carol runs tonight (a private function), tomorrow, Friday, and twice on Saturday. Tickets are available for all 4 remaining public performances.