Stepping into Magic: an actor's journey…

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them" ~William Shakespeare

Stave 1: Marley’s Ghost


Communing with the stage.

“Marley was dead to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.” Charles Dickens, Stave 1,
A Christmas Carol

     We have a couple of hours of tech rehearsal left before officially opening A Christmas Carol at the Dallas Theater Center! The technical demands and process have been impressive. The focus and attention it takes for all the crew members, the creative team and the actors is monumental. All of this time, energy and work pays off each night when we see, feel and hear the audience react during the play and when we walk out on stage for the finale and curtain call.


A view from the backstage right wing.

      The transition between the rehearsal hall and the stage is one that always comes with a sense of excitement as well as challenge. As all transformations require, one must leave something behind in order to move forward. In theater when the change happens between rehearsal and performance the actors and crew take responsibility and ownership to reproduce, night after night, the vision and message our directors and creative team envision. It’s the end of the beginning, the next step, the next page, the next chapter, or in our case the next Stave…
     The book of A Christmas Carol is divided into five parts. Rather than labeling them chapters Dickens choose the word “Stave.” This is a term in reference to the musical staff and was also an old english term for chapter. In our adaptation of this story each scene in the script is labeled Stave One, Stave Two, Stave Three, etc.
   For this production I have the privilege of facilitating an event before each performance called “Come Early.” An hour before curtain, audience members can gather in the theater and hear a short presentation about the play, the process and our production.
I share with them tidbits of information regarding the story of A Christmas Carol, the life of Charles Dickens, insight into my personal experience and the vision of our production.
     So here we go, the beginning of the run, Stave One, a holiday tradition for many Dallas families and for some folks their first theatrical experience. I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of this show. Not only because of the beautiful production value and the immensely talented cast and crew, but also because of the spirit of this story. Dickens wrote this story as a condemnation of greed and a call to action for charitable giving during the holiday season. He saw firsthand the deplorable conditions of the industrial working class during his lifetime in Victorian Britain where the gap between the wealthy and the poor was enormous. (Sound familiar?) This story was Dickens’ response which became a phenomenon in 1843 and to this day A Christmas Carol lives on. Here at Dallas Theater Center they have partnered with North Texas Food Bank to fundraise for families facing hunger during the holiday season. Over the past 6 years DTC patrons of a Christmas Carol have donated over $250,000! This year in our first 7 previews we have raised over $11,000. We can only hope and imagine that Charles Dickens is looking down with pride to know that the intent of his story lives on!


Happy Opening to the cast and crew of the Dallas Theater Center’s 2014 production of A Christmas Carol!

“Scrooge closed the window, and examined the door by which the Ghost had entered. It was double-locked, as he had locked it with his own hands, and the bolts were undisturbed. He tried to say “Humbug!” But stopped at the first syllable. And being, from the emotion he had undergone, or the fatigues of the day, or his glimpse of the Invisible World, or the dull conversation of the Ghost, or the lateness of the hour, much in need of repose; went straight to bed, without undressing, and fell asleep upon the instant.”
Charles Dickens, Stave 1,
A Christmas Carol

Staves 2-5 are yet to come! Stay tuned…



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One thought on “Stave 1: Marley’s Ghost

  1. Your generosity in the storytelling of your beautiful artistic experiences is quite phenomenal, Sabina Zúñiga Varela. I am inspired by your gratitude, love for theatre, and desire to share thoughts and insights and personal stories with us, as you continue the pursuit of your bliss. All the love. And thanks again! Looking forward to Staves 2-5!

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