A! Magazine for the Arts

John Hardy performs more than 40 roles in this one-man version of "A Christmas Carol."

John Hardy performs more than 40 roles in this one-man version of "A Christmas Carol."

John Hardy performs one-man show "A Christmas Carol' in Abingdon

November 25, 2015

John Hardy, nationally known for his one-man play, "Rattlesnake," is touring with another one-man play, an adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." He can be seen at the Virginia Ballroom Sunday, Dec. 20 at 3 p.m., in a performance sponsored by the Friends of the Washington County Public Library.

The production features Hardy playing more than 40 characters. "It is a loyal adaptation of the book," says Hardy. "'A Christmas Carol' is one of the best known stories in the world and I wanted to retain, as much as possible, the essence of the book in its original form." The play follows the book, scene by scene. "Even though it is the same story as the book, the experience of actually watching an actor move through the events of a play is vastly different than simply hearing the story or reading the book. I get entirely caught up in the story as I am doing the play, and the audience goes right along with me."

From the first moment of the play until the last, Hardy never leaves the stage and he
never changes costume. How then, does he manage to portray over 40 characters?
"Well, that's the reason it is a difficult play to act. The characters are defined by variations in accents and speech patterns as well as physical traits. Most of the time, when acting in a play or a film, an actor has the job of creating one character, and that is difficult enough, but 40? It's a big job, to say the least. That challenge is also the reason this production is a unique event. Even if an audience member has seen a previous production of "A Christmas
Carol,' they have not seen it done like this."

Fortunately, Hardy has some experience with the form of the one-man play. His production of "Rattlesnake," in which he plays 16 characters, somewhat prepared him for the daunting task of playing more than 40 characters. Hardy has been praised for his work in "Rattlesnake," an original play that he wrote, in addition to being the only actor.
In working on "A Christmas Carol," Hardy found that the story had much more to offer
than he originally believed: "I was surprised at how funny it was. Dickens has taken this serious subject and somehow made it funny. It is a celebration of the spirit of Christmas. That is the best word that I can think of in describing this piece: Celebration, it is a celebration."

Hardy has a special relationship with this story. "When I was living in New York City in the early 1980s, I was cast in an Off-Broadway production of "A Christmas Carol.' It was my first professional job in New York. Since then I have been in four different productions of "A Christmas Carol,' so it is a special story for me, one that seems to follow me through my career. I suppose that is why I wanted to return to it by doing my own adaptation and taking on the seemingly impossible task of doing it as a one-man play."

He recently performed "A Christmas Carol" to sold-out houses at the Duke City Repertory Theatre in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "We had to add performances. The word of mouth spread like wildfire. People came back to see it two and three times. I knew it was an excellent production, but it was exhilarating to see it so well received." The Albuquerque Journal wrote: "John Hardy's one-man version of "A Christmas Carol' ... a stunning work of theatrical
virtuosity. Run to see this; take the whole family. You will be transfixed from the first moment. ... This play brings the story to life. ... I've seen this story many times but never like this ... it will be as if you are seeing it for the first time."

Hardy is in the midst of a 35-year career in the professional theatre. He has worked all over the country and overseas. Over the course of his career he has directed more than 100 professional productions including "Othello," "Macbeth," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Romeo and Juliet," "Henry V," "Julius Caesar," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Oedipus the King," "Man of La Mancha," "The Taming of the Shrew" and others. As an actor, he has played many of the great roles including Hamlet, MacBeth, Tom Wingfield in "The Glass Menagerie," Teach in "American Buffalo" and many others. In 2009, he played George in a national tour of "Of Mice and Men." As a playwright he has had more than 100 productions of 15 plays produced across the country and overseas.

The performance runs approximately 75 minutes and is performed in one act. It is appropriate for audiences of any age but is best suited for ages 10 and above. The performance
is free and open to the public.