Matthew Scott Moore

A Christmas Carol (Marley)

A Christmas Carol, adapted from Charles Dickens’ classic novella, has been performed countless times around the world, in all manner of versions (including Broadway musicals, movies, and TV knockoffs), and remains a favorite holiday entertainment. It tells the story of the mystical overnight transformation of the miserly, heard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge, the quintessential boss from hell, into a kindly and loving–and much-loved–philanthropist. It carries a timeless message of hope, compassion, humanity, and joy, while vividly describing the Christmas customs of early-Victorian London. It is an unabashedly sentimental work–but a glorious one.

In NTID’s adaptation, Matthew had the choice role of Marley, Scrooge’s recently deceased business partner, whose ghost appears to Scrooge on Christmas Eve, presaging the visitations of the three spirits: the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future. Marley, who did not experience redemption while he was alive, acts as an agent of Scrooge’s redemption. He is wretchedly unhappy-looking, dusty, and decrepit, entangled in chains and locks, symbolic of his lifelong enslavement to greed. Scrooge engages him in debate, and attempts to dismiss his stern warnings as so much humbug–at his own peril.

Matthew also played Charles Dickens, who, as Prologue, introduced the play.

While playing Marley, Matthew had a near-disastrous mishap. In NTID’s production, Marley’s ghost, entering the stage to confront Scrooge, emerged from an otherwordly cloud of smoke. One night, a spark from a smoke-squib fell into Matthew’s trouser pocket and ignited. The audience saw the flame–and gasped. Backstage, the crew summoned an ambulance. Matthew calmly improvised a line: “Excuse me a moment; I have to talk to my pet,” turned around, beat out the flame, then turned to the front and resumed his lines without missing a beat. The director nearly fainted.

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