Two years ago, Martin Prest gave his one-man performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Denmans. It was fantastic and absorbing. We are thrilled to have him back. Here he tells us
By Martin Prest
I tour one-man shows, work in theatre and help run a murder mystery company – Two Kings Events, so theoretically I’m busy but my days seem to be mostly lazy with occasional frenetic bursts. I make sure to always do at least 2 hours of work just for myself. If I achieve that, it’s a successful day.
I think we all have favourite books that we have seen butchered in the adaptation. Even in small ways. I pride myself on keeping adaptations as true as possible to the original as they can be.
I have worked as an actor for years, but I can remember the exact moment I thought of performing A Christmas Carolby candlelight as a one-man show. I was singing at a Christingle service. The candles were lit and the lights went out in the church and I thought, having a storyteller read A Christmas Carol would be absolutely magical in this atmosphere. A year later I performed A Christmas Carol by candlelight in the same venue.
Charles Dickens used to have wildly popular reading tours of his works. As great as they are to read – and who doesn’t love A Christmas Carol? – they are even better to have read to you. The language as you read it, is meant to be spoken. All the characters have unique, individual voices. Turning the lights down low and letting your imagination get lost in the most festive story is something the best cinema and CGI can never replicate.
All of my inspiration comes from the text itself and a thousand generations of people sitting round fires telling stories. It’s what we are made for. It is a lot to live up to.
They say the first bite of a meal is with the eyes. The venue for a performance is the same. I like to perform in unique and interesting locations. But also, bringing shows into communities everywhere is a great joy.
My performance of A Christmas Carol is a true telling of our greatest Christmas story and my aim is for audiences to be caught up in their own imagination, just the way Dickens intended.
After touring another one-man show, Dracula Part I: Jonathan Harker’s Journal, I am desperately trying to condense the remaining 400 pages of Dracula down to Part II and Part III of the story. We were made to hear and tell stories. I want our greatest stories to be heard and enjoyed by as many people as possible.