Actor John Feltch has returned to the Alley Theatre after an absence of 12 years (other than to play in To Kill a Mockingbird in April 2007, Treasure Island in May 2007 and Eurydice in February 2009) to take on the role of Jacob Marley's ghost/Mrs. Dilber in this year's version of A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas.
And usually we don't like to run straight Q&As but Feltch's answers to our e-mailed questions -- we were told he was much too busy for a sitdown -- were so delightful that we decided to let him run with them. He certainly knows how to build to an ending.
10. How did you get involved in acting to begin with?
I saw a play that my older brother was in at Boston College High School and was mesmerized. I was thirteen and I've been a devout theatre person since then . . . 41 years!!
9. Since you left the Alley, what have you concentrated on doing?
I was in New York for a few years, worked off Broadway and on, did a movie or two (little stuff) and worked at some great regional theatres. It was clear to me that my heart was in less commercial stuff and I moved to Chapel Hill, NC and retained a regional theatre career and began something called The Bridge Studio with my wife Mitzie, where we use all of the arts to expand the expressive abilities of autistic children and adults.
8. What made you decide to come back to the Alley for this production of A Christmas Carol?
They very kindly asked me. And I love coming back to Houston and to my friends here. And after a 12 year hiatus, I'm loving these roles and this story in a whole new way .
7. Are you working with a lot of people you've known before?
Yes!! It's a joy. James Black, Jeffrey Bean, James Belcher, Paul Hope, Charles Krohn whom I've known and loved and admired for many years; and Jay Sullivan, David Rainey and Phillip Lehl with whom I did Eurydice at the Alley and I think are brilliant; and Julia Krohn whom I've known since she was a kid and I finally get to share a stage with. I'm blessed to be around them.
6. What's it like playing both Jacob Marley and Mrs. Dilber?
Lots of changing clothes and make up! But also there's a delightful range of comedy/tragedy and him/her there that any actor would love.
5. Do you try to bring something new to the role or just have fun and go with it?
It's definitely different this time. I've tried to find layers that weren't fully there before. James and Jeffrey have been really open to changing it up and exploring with me. I hope it's richer. 4. Are you doing this in a British accent or American?
British. I mean, this ain't the Dickens from Marfa.
3. Do you plan to scare the bejesus out of kids when you come up out of the floor clanking your chains?
YES!! Today we did our first student show and they went crazy when I popped out of Hades. It was big, big fun.
2. Why do you think audiences come back to see A Christmas Carol year after year?
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It's a great, great story. It reminds us all in such a compact, potent way that we need to keep our priorities straight and that forgiveness and redemption are always possible. Love matters most.
1. What should I have asked you that I didn't?
I admit to watching Hoarders but eschew Honey Boo Boo.
A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas runs at the Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue now through December 24. For information go to the theater website or call 713-220-5700. $25-$125.