ENCINITAS — Award-winning British actor Ron Choularton, who has become a favorite as Ebenezer Scrooge in productions of “A Christmas Carol” at the North Coast Repertory Theatre and New Village Arts Theatre, returns as the crusty curmudgeon in a staged reading of the Charles Dickens classic at the Encinitas Library Community Room Dec. 15.
The event, presented by Intrepid Shakespeare Company, begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. that includes wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as bread pudding and apple cider for children and adults, followed by the performance at 6 p.m. Cost is $10.
The script is adapted and directed by Brian Mackey (Actor of the Year, San Diego Theatre Critics Circle) and Rachael VanWormer, and is said to remain true to the book.
Tanner Erdem, who recently appeared in the North Coast Repertory youth production of The Outsiders, plays Tiny Tim. The cast also features: Todd Blakesley, Isaac Brieske, Danny Campbell, Kyrsten Hafso, Tom Hall, Linda Libby, Molly O’Meara, Don Pugh and Eddie Yaroch.
“This will be a wonderful presentation of ‘A Christmas Carol’ that you probably won’t see anywhere else,” Choularton said.
This is the first staged reading Intrepid has done, and promises to be more elaborate than most.
“A lot of theatres do readings because they are not full productions,” explained Sean Cox, artistic director. “Instead, they have actors standing at music stands who literally read through the play.
“We have found that our readings are more fun and entertaining because our actors are running around the stage, making entrances and exits, so the audience is more able to follow the story. Although actors don’t wear costumes, they wear clothes to give the audience an idea what the costumes would look like.”
In addition, Cox said actors will sing Christmas carols a cappella throughout the reading.
Choularton enjoys playing the role, adding that Scrooge’s character is misunderstood by many people because they dwell on his greed.
“It has nothing to do with money and is more about abandonment,” he explained. “He’s lost his relatives, and cut human beings from his life, and focuses on his money. It’s a fable, really. It shows the past and future and you see him die alone — but he gets a second chance.”
Originally from Manchester, England, Choularton remembers acting as a child until he was diverted by his obsession with soccer. At 20, he had a friend who acted and suggested he read for a part. By that time, Choularton was married with plans to move to the U.S. and said he didn’t want to start something he couldn’t finish
“I divorced in 1986 and it was a transition in life, and one light started to flicker, ‘Why don’t you start acting. . . it’s not too late,’” he remembers.
He enrolled in classes at Grossmont College, putting pressure on himself to earn a degree.
“A friend said, ‘You don’t need to do that. Just work with good people,’” he recalled. “I took that advice.”
He established a goal for himself and achieved it: acting at the San Diego Repertory (A Christmas Carol, Clean House, Sea Farer), the La Jolla Playhouse (Peter and the Starcatcher) and the Old Globe (Da, Sight Unseen). In addition, Choularton performed “A Christmas Carol” twice at the North Coast Repertory. He also did television and film work.
Another highlight of the evening will be the announcement of the new season of Intrepid’s mainstage theater.