Greenwich Theatre Company Launches A Virtual Production of A CHRISTMAS MEMORY
Conducted by Michael Raver
Just in time for the holidays, Greenwich Theatre Company is launching a virtual performance of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory. The piece, originally published in 1956, features performances by Susan Jacobson (HBO’s The Guilded Age) and Norman Allen (Broadway’s Chips with Everything).
“Best known for the literary works Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, Truman Capote’s autobiographical A Christmas Memory is a holiday classic that touches the heart,” says Andrea Lynn Green, Co-Artistic Director of GTC. “In these uncertain times, we are thrilled to bring this compelling work to life through virtual means, featuring the dynamic talents of Susan Jacobson and Broadway-veteran Norman Allen.”
“It’s rare for one short story to capture so much emotion” says Kyle Silver, GTC’s Executive Director. “When I learned that Truman Capote attended Greenwich High School from 1939 to 1941 and wrote several short stories for the high school’s literary journal, The Green Witch, I thought: here’s a Greenwich teen turned famous novelist giving us this great gift. And with Patsy Moss’ excellent adaptation, A Christmas Memory is entertainment for the whole family, and the kind we need most right now.”
Co-Artistic Director Stephanie Hazard, and the entire GTC team, is currently working on additional virtual and in-person plans for our 2021 season.
How has it been putting together an online presentation like this? What was the biggest challenge?
Norman Allen: Very exciting. Gave me something to put my creative juices to work rather than worrying about Covid and the State of the Nation. Zoom is a big Challenge but having the Director we had in Andrea Lynn Green, she was able to alleviate most of this challenge for me.
Susan Jacobson: Being able to work with Andrea and Norman on this beautiful piece was a true gift. After climbing out of the black hole of closed theaters, I welcomed the green screen, ring light and props galore which overtook my bedroom. The biggest challenge for me was trying to understand this new medium, which is not theater, or film…but acting inside a small box. What works for theater and film does not necessarily translate to Zoom and that can be frustrating. It’s a huge learning curve with the added responsibility of attending to sound, camera angle, lighting, hair, makeup, costume, props, and green screen. On the other hand, new discoveries emerge so you get to embrace new opportunities. I was glad it wasn’t a live zoom performance, and I was glad I was working with Andrea and Norman!
What does A Christmas Memory mean to you?
Norman Allen: Capote’s writing is an absolute dream. As an actor, it is such joy helping these words come alive.
Susan Jacobson: I love Capote’s writing and Buddy and Cousin Sooks’ timeless friendship. Through Cousin’s words, I get to remind myself that what’s important about life is all around me, everyday, if I chose to see it—such a reaffirming thought, especially during these harrowing times.
How do you think Truman Capote would have responded to the pandemic?
Norman Allen: He would have written profusely about it and how it has been handled by those who are supposed to Know Best.
Susan Jacobson: He’d read, write, watch Netflix, Zoom and drink.
What’s a Christmas memory or tradition that you’re particularly fond of?
Norman Allen: Tobogganing on my aunt and uncle’s farm when I was Buddy’s age.
Susan Jacobson: Instead of exclaiming “It’s fruitcake weather,” I announce each season “It’s time to get out the Christmas toys!” My parents, who were not religious but created wonderful holiday traditions, started collecting Christmas toys before they had children. Now, the tradition has become mine and I spend weeks unpacking boxes of magical toys and handmade ornaments dating from the early 1950’s to today. Everyone has their favorites and we continue to add stories and toys every year.
What is something you’re grateful for this year?
Norman Allen: My family and loved ones staying safe and covid-free.
Susan Jacobson: Family, friends, books, the capacity to adapt, zoom classes & performances, walks in the woods, happy hour, and seeing a light at the end of this long tunnel.
A Christmas Memory is available to stream December 19-23. To register and purchase tickets, visit www.greenwichtheatrecompany.org