NEWTON — Donning multiple hats, Paul Meacham, founder of Tri-State Actors Theater, not only created and directed the age-old favorite, "A Christmas Carol," but also starred in it as Ebenezer Scrooge and did the set design.
For the past two weeks, Meacham, who lives in Matamoras, Pa., has both played Scrooge and directed his interpretation of "A Christmas Carol" in which he wove narration and acting together on the Sussex County Community College stage.
Other than the role of Scrooge, performers constantly transitioned from actor to narrator and also served as human props, such as the door upon which Scrooge sees Marley's face in the knocker. Actors also were responsible for sound effects — such as the clanking of Marley's chains and the clop-clopping of horses during Scrooge's stint with The Ghost of Christmas Past — and made set changes.
Along with the Tri-State Theater, Meacham's resume includes performing off-Broadway with Frank Langella and Diane Wiest in Arthur Miller's "After the Fall," as Teddy Rosevelt in "Fighting Bob," as Dr. Seward in the long-running hit, "The Passino of Dracula" and was a member of the acting company of the Classic Stage Company for two years.
When it comes to "A Christmas Carol," Meacham said, "I've actually written two other adaptations of 'A Christmas Carol' and have produced it in various ways." He's incorporated as many as 30 actors in one adaptation and in another did a one man show in 2005 playing all the parts.
ActorsGiven the nature of the adaptation, actors were given numbers rather than roles as they each assumed a number of not just roles, but positions and responsibilities on stage.
Actor 1 — Lauren Devore, a former Tri-State Actors intern from Franklin, was a gentlewoman, fan, Mrs. Fezziwig, Belle, Martha and Laundress.
Actor 2 — Elizabeth Weitzen, from Brooklyn, N.Y., filled the roles of a gentlewoman, The Ghost of Christmas Past, Mrs. Cratchit and the Charwoman.
Actor 3 — Tom Walker, of Mahwah, played Scrooge at school, Young Scrooge, Tiny Tim, the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and the Turkey Boy.
Actor 4 — Nicholas Wilder, from Philadelphia, filled the roles of Bob Cratchit, Marley's Ghost, Old Joe and Dick Wilkins.
Actor 5 — Peter Kendall played Fred, Fezziwig, The Ghost of Christmas Present and Peter Cratchit.
Meacham's wife, Patricia, served as Managing Director and head of costumes. She also manned the box office and refreshment stand.
"A friend surprised me with a ticket to accompany her to the show and I have to say this is a brilliant interpretation of A Christmas Carol," said Marissa Marcus, of Sussex at the intermission. "It's so amazing how each actor fills not only multiple roles, but also ends up suddenly being a narrator."
Upcoming showsComing this spring, Tri State Actors will perform a new romantic comedy called "Heels Over Head," written by Susan Gadel, from Connecticut. Meacham said they will perform it under the direction of Sussex County native Patricia Duarante this spring.
Tri-State Actors Theater presents a number of performances at SCCC each year and offers a host of acting classes for both adults and children. For information, call 973-383-0510 or visit www.tristateactorstheater.org.