Chisara Agor is currently performing in Christmas Carol – A Fairy Tale at Wilton’s Music Hall in London. She talks to Ruth Comerford about playing multiple roles, and the relevance of Dickens’ Christmas tale today.
How is this adaptation of A Christmas Carol different?
I’d say it’s the way it’s been rethought and rewritten. There’s a line running through it that considers women’s roles in society. That keeps the play a relevant story today and not a fairy tale, without being too on-the-nose. I think it causes us to reflect on things we may not have questioned, especially women’s roles in the household. It’s just accepted that we will do physical labour and all the emotional labour. The way it’s shown in the play is very holistic.
Tell me about your character in the play.
I multi-role throughout the show, so I am an urchin child/storyteller called Want, young Fan and Cratchit, one of the sons and the ghost of the future. As Want, I am one of the beings that tell the story but who is also outside of it. We are the unseen, reflecting a lot of the people that are homeless today. Many of the multi-roled characters are created through their relationship with other people on stage, and I guess the audience is seeing the character reflected in the eyes of other people. Everything we do is so knitted together – everything is connected, It’s very much a collaborative piece.
How did you get into the theatre industry?
I’ve always had my eye on performing. At the end of secondary school, I got all the brochures for drama school but I knew there were things I wanted to do as well as acting. I knew I would always come back to it. I was really involved with music and theatre at school and was always singing. Then I studied philosophy and modern languages at university and completed a master’s degree. I was teaching dance, writing my own music and performing in Spain during a year abroad, then I came back and realised I missed performing in a theatrical way. I looked for more acting work and auditioned for shows. I was in a panto at Theatre Peckham and there was a casting director there casting for West Side Story, so I said: “Hello”, and I got into that way.
What do you think needs to improve in the industry?
We need to accept that people have whole stories and different experiences, and embrace new stories and not rely on old-fashioned ideas of what life should be like. We need to accept that different people bring different things to the room.
What projects do you have coming up?
I’m writing a musical at the moment called The Garden. It’s about a girl who plants a seed in the middle of her estate and a whole garden grows. It explores communities and how we can take care of each other.
First professional role: Cinderella Shoeshine at Theatre Peckham (2017)
Agent: Bloomsfields Welch Management
Christmas Carol – A Fairy Tale is running at Wilton’s Music Hall until January 4