Featured: David Hallatt as Mr. Wiggins and Susie Hallatt as Mrs. Tabor.
Recently we interviewed David and Susie Hallatt who are no strangers to the Dock Street Theatre stage. Here’s what they had to say about performing with Charleston Stage in this season’s “A Christmas Carol.”
Q1. You’re reprising your roles as The Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. What makes each of these roles so magical for you both?
SUSIE: “A Christmas Carol” is probably my most favorite story, because it is a story of redemption, love and how even the meanest human being can find grace. The role of Ghost of Christmas Past is special because very few people are really forced to revisit their past; if we did, we might find ourselves making better choices in the present! I am studying history at the College of Charleston, so showing people the value of history is very close to my heart.
DAVID: My English heritage makes this particular story very significant for me, and the fact that when you add longer hair and a white beard I look (and feel) very much like Father Christmas. It is very special indeed!! In previous productions I’ve played Marley’s Ghost and Mr. Fezziwig, but I feel that I was born to play this Ghost. When little children come up to me in Target or Bi-Lo and ask me if I’m Santa Claus, I realize how special this is not just for me but for every child (young and old)!
Q2. What have you learned from performing these roles and how have they developed over time?
SUSIE: I think the Ghost herself sums it up best for me on this one: everyone should pause to take a look at the shadows they have cast – its the same message you get from Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Sometimes what you have done has not only affected your life’s path, but others as well.
DAVID: I’ve learned that each person celebrates Christmas in a different way, and that having a great deal of money doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be happy. It’s tricky playing a role like this – as an actor, you want to continue to develop the personality, but you also have to be aware that the audience has definite expectations that you have to meet.
Q3. What is your involvement in the Charleston Theater scene?
SUSIE: David and I moved to Charleston in 2003, and have performed as often as possible with many of the local theaters here. I’ve worked with Footlight Players and the Village Playhouse. I started at Charleston Stage as Dottie in “Noises Off”; David and I also did “Ragtime”, “The Producers”, and of course “A Christmas Carol” together – we’ve been privileged to perform in this show four times together.
DAVID: Susie and I were both in a production of “The Elephant Man” at Footlight Players when we first arrived in Charleston in 2003. Since then I have acted and directed with Footlight Players, Village Playhouse and Charleston Stage. Besides being in “A Christmas Carol” for Charleston Stage, I have enjoyed playing Lazar Wolf in “Fiddler on the Roof” as well as the Judge in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and several roles in “The Producers.”
Q4. Why is theater so important to you?
SUSIE: I’ve been a part of the theater community in every place I’ve lived since 1983. After my family, theater is the most important thing in my life. Arts and culture are the essence of Charleston, and the variety of theater programs in the area, especially for young people, is truly staggering. I am so happy to live where others appreciate the arts, especially theater!
DAVID: It is important to continue to produce live theater; so many people are exposed to drama and comedy as recorded events, and wouldn’t realize the joy of live production without theater. It’s important in Charleston as it is anywhere to encourage our community to participate in theater, both onstage and in the audience. The hard part is figuring out how to get them in!
Q5. What do you do in your spare time?
SUSIE: Theater!!! And my day job is with the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, South Carolina, at the College of Charleston, where I help people become graduate students and work toward a master’s level degree.
DAVID: I enjoy watching sports and reading, but I also love to participate in theater with my wife Susie in my spare time. I work for the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles in their Leeds Avenue office.
Featured: Curtis Worthington as Ebenezer Scrooge and Susie Hallatt as The Ghost of Christmas Past.
Featured from left to right: Curtis Worthington as Ebenezer Scrooge and David Hallatt as The Ghost of Christmas Present.