San Antonio’s Classic Theatre tackles a holiday favorite with a lone voice and a new setting

Classic Theatre stages “A Christmas Carol” as a one-man show without the theater.

By Jack Morgan, Texas Public RadioDecember 1, 2022 9:30 am,

From Texas Public Radio:

It’s one of Christmas’s longest-enduring traditions. But a Classic Theatreproduction of “A Christmas Carol” promises some notable departures from the original.

Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” nearly 180 years ago. Actor Kurt Wilkinson thinks he knows why it still resonates.

“It lets people know that you need to be a good person. And it’s so innovative, too, with Charles Dickens deciding to have a spooky kind of story of Christmas that kind of scared you into becoming a better person, almost,” he said.

Another norm-busting aspect to this production is that there’s no theater.

The Maverick Carter House.
Jack Morgan / Texas Public Radio

“It is being put on right in front of the Maverick Carter House, which is this old historic building in downtown San Antonio,” Wilkinson said.

That 1883 structure is the massive stone house just across the street from the Tobin Center. Wilkinson said this production being set there is appropriate in unexpected ways.

“The old owner of the house actually used to have carolers sing out to the people on the city streets as they walked by during Christmas,” he said.

Another departure from what you might expect: the character-rich play is being staged as a one-man show.

“I have always been interested in the art of voice acting, and so being able to play multiple characters in the show and giving unique voices to all of those characters is something that I really enjoy doing,” Wilkinson said.

There’s yet another point of differentiation in this production: he’ll be acting it in his wheelchair.

“Yes I am. I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta. So I have been in a wheelchair for all of my life,” he said. “And I am an actor with disabilities.”

He’s ready to make actors acting in wheelchairs a norm.

“I want to show the San Antonio community and hopefully in the future the community of the world, actors with disabilities can be incredible and that it’s worth it for them to put in the effort to make their spaces accessible,” Wilkinson said.

The other actor playing the lead, Ray Seams.
Photo by Jimmy Moore

The acting will be shared in successive nights by Wilkinson and another actor.

“The other actor is Ray Seams and the way that the schedule works is we are alternating performances,” he said. “So I will be performing on Thursdays and Saturdays and Ray will be performing on Fridays and Sundays.

The play’s run starts Thursday, December 1st and goes through December 18th. If you get there at 6:45 you can take a tour of the Maverick-Carter House’s first floor.

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