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Andrew Legg to present One Christmas Carol at the Empress Theatre

Lethbridge actor Andrew Legg will stage the one-person show ‘One Christmas Carol’ on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod.

Andrew Legg hopes to establish a Christmas tradition at the Empress Theatre next month when he performs a holiday classic.
Legg presents the one-person show One Christmas Carol at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Empress Theatre.
“A Christmas Carol is the perfect play,” Legg said in an interview last week. “There’s a reason theatre companies and elementary schools come back to this play at Christmas time. It’s got all the stuff — ghosts, humour, sorrow and it ultimately has redemption.”
“It really is something kind of powerful.”
Raised in Lethbridge, Legg got involved in theatre at a young age and later earned a fine arts degree at the University of Lethbridge, later returning to get a master’s in theatre directing.
Legg has worked with New West Theatre in Lethbridge, Rosebud Theatre, the Chemainus Theatre Festival on Vancouver Island. He has also written and performed historical dramas at Fort Whoop Up.
In recent years Legg has started doing more television work with roles in Fargo, Wynona Earp and Hell On Wheels, and had a recurring spot in 30 Shaw commercials.
Legg first became acquainted with the Empress Theatre as a child when his family would come to Fort Macleod in the summer to watch the Great West Theatre productions.
Legg, who has performed comedy but not a drama at the Empress, loves the historic theatre and harboured a desire to stage a production there.
“It’s been on my list for years,” Legg said. “The Empress is such an iconic theatre.”
Legg has done his one-man version of A Christmas Carol for several years.
During his research for the historical dramas, Legg learned of a Fort Macleod connection to the play.
Francis Dickens, son of A Christmas Carol author Charles Dickens, was in the North West Mounted Police at Fort Macleod.
“It was kind of fascinating,” Legg said. “I am using (Charles) Dickens’ own edited script that he would use for his public readings.”
“Because Dickens edited it, there’s no guesswork on what would stay in. I do the whole script as he (Dickens) would have read it and I perform the characters.”
From Scrooge to Bob Cratchit, and from the Ghost of Christmas Past to Tiny Tim, Legg performs each of the 42 characters in the two-hour show, with only a chair and a hat rack for assistance.
Legg has appreciation for all the trappings of a big theatre production — the set, the cast, the direction — but also enjoys the challenges of a one-person show.
“This really strips everything away,” Legg explained. “It’s the voice, it’s the language, it’s me getting to be all the characters.”
Legg compared the challenge for an actor in staging a one-person show to a runner being drawn to the challenge of running a marathon. It is certainly daunting, but ultimately rewarding.
“The exciting challenge is to create characters that are fully realized and different from each other.”
Legg first performed One Christmas Carol in Edmonton, where he enlisted a friend from the Edmonton Symphony to provide the music.
“I tried it out and it hung together,” Legg said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”
In addition to his show at the Empress Theatre, Legg will also perform One Christmas Carol in the Crowsnest Pass and Lethbridge.
Legg’s singer-songwriter friend Matt Cameron has prepared the score and sound effects for One Christmas Carol.
Legg is hopeful the audience will share his enthusiasm for the rich language, colourful characters and the depth of the play’s message.
“It’s so incredibly well crafted as a story,” Legg said. “It gives these moments of deep, beautiful language and beautiful phrasing.”