Oak Bay actor channels 17 characters for Carol at the Castle

A Christmas Carol runs at Craigdarroch Castle through Dec. 23

Oak Bay’s Jason Stevens performs a one-man version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Craigdarroch Castle.

Oak Bay’s Jason Stevens performs a one-man version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Craigdarroch Castle.

One actor, plus one 19th century castle and 17 characters equals one timeless Christmas experience.

This December, Craigdarroch Castle welcomes back Oak Bay actor Jason Stevens for his one-man production of A Christmas Carol.

The notion of presenting A Christmas Carol as a one-man show with no set to speak of (other than the 19th century backdrop that is Craigdrarroch Castle) is not unheard of. “Charles Dickens himself did it as a series of readings,” says Stevens, who first performed the show as a fundraiser to rave reviews, before bringing it to Craigdarroch.

A classically trained actor with roots in the Drama Centre of London and the footlights of New York City, Stevens moved to Oak Bay with his family a few years ago.

After several years of performing the timeless tale, he remains enthralled. As a story, “it’s perfect – it has a beginning, middle and end and it has an 11th-hour redeemed protagonist,” he says.

Dickens’ writing and larger-than-life characters, paired with Stevens’ ear for accents after years in the UK, make creating the characters relatively simple for the actor. Each has his or her own natural voice.

“The trick and the challenge and the fun of it … is to have 17 characters, each with their own tempo,” Stevens says.

Of those 17, favourites shift. “Each year I have a new favourite character,” he reflects, suggesting this year’s nod may go to the second ghost to visit Ebeneezer Scrooge. “I’ve always loved the Ghost of Christmas Present. He’s just such a good time.”

At the same time, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, who with no dialogue creates a sense of foreboding of what will befall Scrooge should he not change his ways, also appeals to the actor.

(No surprise, Stevens is also a fan of ghosts generally, and can also be seen leading Discover the Past’s Ghostly Walks.)

Guests are invited to explore the castle before the show, weaving their way up the grand, central staircase to an upper floor room, an intimate space for the 75-minute tale of redemption that Stevens weaves before them.

“The whole place is a great set and by the time you ascend that staircase, you’re almost in a Victorian mindset. The two complement each other really, really well.”

As Stevens stands directly in front of the seated guests it creates a connection quite different from a traditional stage performance. “The most important thing is that the story happens for me and you get to watch it,” he says. “Because I have almost nothing to depend upon it’s basically weaving a spell,” he says. “It’s just really great to have the story happen – it never gets boring. It’s an absolute privilege.”

Stevens presents 17 performances of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol during this year’s run, continuing through Dec. 23.

Suitable for those age 13 and older, tickets are $20 or $18 for castle members and available online at thecastle.ca, by phone at 250-592-5323 ext. 31 or in person at Craigdarroch Castle, 1050 Joan Cres.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

A cyclist navigates the shoulder in traffic along Oak Bay Avenue in Victoria. (John Luton Photo)
Oak Bay council supports Fort Street bike lanes

Victoria bike lanes would connect to Cadboro Bay Road

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Victoria police are warning people of a continued rise in cybercrime. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)
Victoria police warn of rising cybercrime called spear phishing

Fraudsters continue to trick people out of large sums of money

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Most Read