Oak Bay teen returns to the Belfry stage

A Christmas Carol runs to Dec. 20 at the Belfry Theatre

Oak Bay’s Ajay Parikh-Friese stars as 17-year-old Peter Cratchit in the Belfry’s production of A Christmas Carol.

Oak Bay’s Ajay Parikh-Friese stars as 17-year-old Peter Cratchit in the Belfry’s production of A Christmas Carol.

Already an accomplished actor on both stage and screen, one Oak Bay teen gets to revisit a favoured character this holiday season. Ajay Parikh-Friese, 17, performs in the Belfry’s production of A Christmas Carol, running now to Dec. 20.

He first started acting in Grade 6, working with Kaleidoscope Theatre, landed a role on the Disney television show Mr. Young in Grade 8 and performed in four shows with Pacific Opera Victoria.

“I love rehearsals, just the atmosphere. I love the professionalism of it,” Parikh-Friese says. “I’m still a kid but theatre and screen acting are probably the places I’m treated the most as an adult. You’re treated not as a student but as an equal to everyone else.”

The Belfry Theatre will remount its acclaimed 2012 production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted and directed by Belfry Artistic Director Michael Shamata. In the classic tale, over the course of one evening Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the Spirits of Christmases Past, Present and Future, who soften his heart. Veteran actor Tom McBeath stars as one of literature’s most enduring characters, Ebenezer Scrooge. Parikh-Friese returns as Peter, a role he first took on with the Belfry as a Grade 9 student. Now in Grade 12 at St. Michaels University School, he enjoys the freedom of settling back into a role he knows well.

“I’m a more experienced actor so it’s cool to exercise that, but just playing with my reactions and … while you’re rehearsing you’re thinking about how you did it last time and how you did it yesterday. You know more about the play and how you played your character and how that was perceived,” he says. “It’s liberating in the sense that you can express a lot of things and you can try new things. You can experiment with new ways of portraying a character.”

About half the actors return from 2012, including McBeath and Jessica Hickman as the spirits.

“That whole dynamic between Scrooge and the ghosts, that’s a huge dynamic. It’s really cool in rehearsals to see they’ve tried some stuff differently than in the last show, but you can tell the chemistry between them,” says Parikh-Friese.

Aside from the three extra months of experience with the character, there’s a high comfort level with Shimata as returning stage manager and director.

“Michael Shimata’s adaptation is really, really incredible,” Parikh-Friese says. “When you see all the scenes in succession it really shows how much thought was put into the symbolism and the overall theme of the play which is ultimately love and discovering the good in yourself. His edition – it’s very acclaimed it’s been performed all over Canada – it’s the most magical I’ve seen, it’s highly relatable.

“Also there are a lot of cool effects, the lights and sound are done expertly; that just adds to it.”

Parikh-Friese is also a regular performer at Rifflandia with his folk pop band Close the Bombay Doors – currently in studio working on an album. While he enjoys time in the spotlight, the teen has no plans to pursue acting as a career, planning instead for post-secondary studies in mathematics.

“I definitely see performance in my future, probably not as a career though, not right away,” he says. “It would be excellent to do music as a career. I can see acting as a hobby and I know that I’ll always be doing some sort of performing.”

A Christmas Carol runs to Dec. 20 at the Belfry Theatre. Tickets range from $24 – $53 (plus GST) at 250-385-6815 or online at tickets.belfry.bc.ca.

 

 

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

Just Posted

(File photo)
‘Very lucky’: Two passengers, dog escape rollover crash in Saanich unscathed

Vehicle flips on Trans Canada Highway after hitting median, possibly due to ice, firefighter says

The large metal gate stolen from Muddy Valley Farm in rural Saanich on Jan. 18 reappeared less than a week later. (Muddy Valley Farm/Facebook)
Large metal gate stolen from Saanich farm makes mysterious reappearance

12-foot gate returned to Muddy Valley Farm less than a week after it was stolen

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered Langford teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Langford and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance are partnering to provide local businesses with one-year Island Good memberships. (Courtesy of Vancouver Island Economic Alliance)
Langford offering local businesses free Island Good membership

Island Good label helps consumers identify local products

The speculation and vacancy tax raised about $1.21 million in Sidney and North Saanich combined. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich and Sidney property owners paid $1.21 million in speculation and vacancy tax

Speculation and vacancy tax raised 6.5 million in Greater Victoria

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Most Read