Recently our digital marketing coordinator, Caitlin Howle, sat with resident acting company member Jude Sandy to see what he’s excited for in his upcoming role as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.
Caitlin Howle: This is your first time playing Scrooge — how are you preparing for the role?
Jude Sandy: This is my third time working on a A Christmas Carol after seeing it many times! I’ve choreographed it twice and played the Ghost of Christmas Present. Maybe it’s weird, but playing Scrooge at Trinity Rep has been a dream for me ever since I was a Brown/Trinity Rep grad student. A lot of my prep, apart from consuming every detail I can of the original story, is thinking about how I can honor Dickens and generations of Trinity Rep audiences and the great performances of my fellow acting company members past and present. I hope to wrap myself up in all that glorious history and communal ownership, and aim to reflect all that rich tradition living in our shared present.
CH: What is the most important thing that the story teaches us?
JS: This story begs us to not give up on one another. Human beings are capable of really terrible things, of greed and heartlessness, and still we can be redeemed. We really are miraculous that way. Every year we see young Fred hold faith that Scrooge will find his heart again, so he invites him to Christmas dinner in spite of his uncle’s refusals. In our own lives, who has cut themselves off in one way or another that we can extend our olive branch of unconditional love to? And in what ways do we need to be redeemed from our own selfishness and alienation? How can we be ever more embracing of others, even if we don’t understand their experience or agree with their perspective?
CH: What is a trait that you feel you share with Scrooge?
JS: All people share a desire to be loved. Humans are fundamentally loving creatures; giving and receiving love is our spiritual oxygen. We only cut ourselves off and lash out at others when that loving urge is neglected, corrupted, or threatened in some way. Scrooge experienced things that bruised him and drove him to turn away from love, and I’ve certainly had my own experiences that made me want to do the same. Scrooge and I and all of us have those bruised or alienated parts of us that yearn to be restored by love, even as we struggle to figure out how to open ourselves to it.
CH: It’s Christmas Eve — which spirit would most want to be visited by?
JS: Ha! I totally want to be visited by Christmas Present! I want to know what’s going on now in the world that we can change for the better. There is so much suffering right around us that we’re not seeing, so many places where our loving kindness is urgently needed. I want to know who’s falling between the cracks, whose strife isn’t being seen, who we can reach out to and help, where we can take loving action together right here in the present.
CH: Speaking of the present, what is your favorite holiday tradition?
JS: The lights! As a kid my family would pile into the car after late-night Mass and drive around to see the lights people had put up, and we’d delight in all the ways everyone was expressing and contributing to this collective holiday spirit. In the midst of bleak winter, seeing all the lights gives me a sense of reverence and hope. I wish they would stay up long after the holidays were over.
CH: What do you want people to take home from your Scrooge?
JS: I hope they feel they’ve experienced anew something many of them already know and love. I hope they have huge fun, are surprised, delighted, and deeply moved, and leave full of joy. I hope they reconsider the cut-off people in their own lives, and are inspired to keep space open to welcome their loving redemption. I hope they leave feeling redeemed, with the faith that no matter the twists and turns their lives take, there is in every moment the opportunity to connect to generosity and joy.