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Interview with Guy Masterson

A Christmas Carol performed by Guy Masterson.

Guy Masterson debuts his show, A Christmas Carol this holiday season in New York at SoHo Playhouse. I had a chance to ask him a few questions about the show, his process and future projects.

What drew you to perform A Christmas Carol?

I had been largely "uninterested" in A Christmas Carol all my life until the tender age of 55. I say uninterested, but at some point my willfulness had kicked in and I actively started ignoring it! Truth is, it was nothing short of total ignorance on my part!

But then, in 2016, I was invited to fill-in for an actor who had to drop out at the last minute for a solo reading of the story in the beautiful Fitzrovia chapel in London... Well, I absolutely fell in love with the story and became aware of its hypnotic effect on the audience. A few days later, I was invited to see Simon Callow solo version in the West End, and I thought "I could do this!" I had been going solo for nearly 30 years with 10 different shows and over 4000 solo performances under my belt and had developed a very distinct style described in India as "Solo Performance Storytelling" - where I embody each character with a distinct personality, physicality and vocality... transposing much of a story's narrative into dialogue and playing all the parts myself! This style was created when trying to improvise my way through Dylan Thomas's epic, Under Milk Wood" which was written in such a way to demand this. The show (thankfully) succeeded, and I then followed this up with another British literary masterpiece, Animal Farm, where I adapted it in a similar way. Suddenly I found myself with two huge solo performances which started taking me around the world.

Cutting back to 2016, I realise that with very little adaptation, A Christmas Carol ticked the same boxes. I'm very glad I did. I've since done six full seasons of the show and selling out most - which is a testament to the title's popularity.

Who is your favorite character to perform in the show?

As an actor, it has to be Scrooge because of his great emotional arc from asshole to saint, literally on pain of death! But also because of the myriad complex reasons for his assholery which Dickens has subtly buried in the text and which, as they are not overly indicated in the show, can be easily missed, but which do explain why he has shut himself off from the world and that open "know when the blue was bitter than he! Indeed, it might be easy to look at him today as deeply on the spectrum!

You have an extensive background performing solo shows; how do you prepare for the multiple characters you portray within a show? Does the process change for each show?

The process is the same for every show, indeed, every job of acting. You commit to empathizing with your character and developing or showing feelings as your character would, many of which might indeed be alien to you. But the important preparation for a show of this nature is to develop clarity of thought. One needs to be totally clear in the head to be able to perform. So my preparation involves giving myself a place where I can be undisturbed for the 15 minutes prior to the show.

Do you have new shows or projects coming up?

Yes, I go into rehearsal for a appraisal of my solo Animal Farm, on January 2. I have several solo performances between January 27 and June 15 when I go into production, directing a big play about Marilyn Monroe called The Marilyn Conspiracy which traumatises the last four days of her existence.

I've also written a screenplay which, I am hoping, will go into production next year, but I feel like most new movies, that's in the lap of the gods. End of course, I might partake in my 30th consecutive Edinburgh Fringe in August, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Thank you for answering our questions. We look forward to your upcoming projects.

Have a great run! And Happy Holidays.

"A Christmas Carol!"

Performed by Guy Masterson

Adapted & Directed by Nick Hennegan

December 20 - December 30

SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam St. NYC)


Yani Perez, M.F.A, is a poet, playwright, translator, and educator. Her plays have been presented in various theaters in the United States such as La Mama and Yale University as well as internationally in Bogotá, Colombia. She works at IATI Theater, one of the oldest Latinx theaters in NYC. She is currently working on translations of Latinx artists in hopes of introducing them to English-speaking audiences.


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