Old Friends, New Friends: Actor Sharon Lockwood on Returning to A Christmas Carol

By Elspeth Sweatman and Annie Sears

Christmas may have passed, but the holiday spirit is still thriving here at A.C.T. Many members of the A Christmas Carol cast and crew have made this performance an integral part of their holiday tradition, including actor Sharon Lockwood, who plays Mrs. Dilber and Mrs. Fezziwig. Lockwood has performed at A.C.T. for nearly 30 years, including 14 seasons of A Christmas Carol. We sat down with Lockwood to hear more about what it’s like to integrate a familiar role into an ever-changing cast.

James Carpenter as Scrooge and Sharon Lockwood as Mrs. Dilber in A.C.T.'s 2017 production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Kevin Berne.

How does it feel to return to the same role every year? Like getting in touch with an old friend? 
Old friends? Yes! It's so nifty to play two wildly different characters back and forth in the course of a show, even changing make-up in between. Dominique [Lozano], our director, is always coming up with ways to fine-tune and tell the story as if for the first time. With that, the show always feels vital. It's a life-affirming place to be for the holiday season.

Do you discover new aspects of your characters? 
I'm always trying some new bit with old Mrs. Dilber, be it with the bowl of gruel or getting Scrooge into his nightshirt. With two different actors sharing the role of Scrooge, I can't help but be on my toes. Both James Carpenter and Anthony Fusco are wonderful actors with very different comic rhythms—and often they alternate shows within one day. Mrs. Fezziwig has changed partners several times over the years as well, which is a constant challenge that keeps me hopping.

How does the show stay fresh year to year? 
Every year a new cast of young people is a new adventure. Many of the Young Conservatory actors return to play older roles, and it's lovely to see the way they shepherd the younger newcomers. Also, each professional Carol veteran is assigned two M.F.A. Program students to mentor, so we really get to know them and share our experience in depth. Over the years, many young women I've mentored have kept in touch, and I've been able to continue advising them and follow their careers. That’s very special.

Complete your holiday celebrations with a trip to The Geary for A Christmas Carol, closing December 29. Come celebrate with us, and get your tickets today!

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