Mark Hayward's City Matters: Tiny Tim's delivery makes the show
Tiny Tim, played by Sean Vincent, is carried by Bob Cratchit, played by Rhys Gilyeat, in a scene from “A Christmas Carol,” held at the Palace Theatre, in Manchester, on Thursday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
"Gone With the Wind" would mean nothing if Rhett Butler did not finally tell Scarlet that he doesn't give a damn. Ratso Rizzo sets the mood of 1960s New York with his hood-pounding "I'm walkin' here," in "Midnight Cowboy".
All three auditioned for the role. Once selected, they had to learn their lines (not that hard since there are only four lines), work on their singing voice (they sing with an ensemble) and master walking with a limp leg and crutch. ("Walk like the crutch is glued to your foot, bend your back and lean on the crutch," advised Windham 8-year-old Jake Joyce, the Tiny Tim for the first week's run.)
We know the story of "A Christmas Carol" as well as we know the lyrics of "Jingle Bells." The sickly Tiny Tim's all-important line comes during the season of hope and celebration. The emotional strength of the line — "God Bless us everyone" — is in the physical weakness of the character.
Their British accent is apparent in "God," pronounced more like a clipped version of the word good. "Bless us" rings with the certainty of a child's faith. A pause follows. "Everyone" bubbles with boyish enthusiasm and pitch.
Sean Vincent, an 8-year-old student at Newmarket Elementary, said he watched several versions of "A Christmas Carol" to get the British accent down. He credits Blanchette with showing him how to use the crutch.
Mark Hayward's City Matters runs Thursdays in the Union Leader and on UnionLeader.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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