Atlanta native, Neal Ghant, returns to the Alliance Theatre stage as Bob Cratchit in the Charles Dicken’s Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol. We caught up with the talented actor to learn a little more about his role, what advice he has for aspiring actors, and what we can expect from him in the new year.
What is your full name?
Neal Antwon Ghant
Where are you from?
Do you think Atlanta provides enough opportunities for actors to be successful?
Sure. It’s a hustle, but successful is a bit of a subjective term. I’d say there are plenty of opportunities for success in acting here in Atlanta and those opportunities continue to grow.
At what age did you first get “bit” by the acting bug?
I’d say 11. That was when I actually started putting a ‘name’ to what I’d been doing my entire life really.
Do you recall anything specific that made you want to act?
After my first church play, I think I realized I could do it in a structured manner and have a good time doing it.
What was your first acting role?
A really nice church play, years ago, called Choices.
What do you do in preparation to take on the persona of such a well known character as Bob Cratchit?
I’m not sure if I actually DO anything. I don’t really see him that way. I’ve sort of grown up with the role (even before I was actually playing the part) so he’s more of a familiar concept now for me. A reflection of a lot of the raw potential for spreading happiness we all have inside of us, I think.
Charles Dickens penned the novel A Christmas Carol in the 1840s. What similarities can you draw from the zeitgeist of then and present day?
The banks and debt still hold sway over a lot of the happiness we might otherwise seek throughout our lives. Humans, at this point I believe, should have long separated themselves from the need of debt to survive long ago. But alas, the divide between poor and rich, and all the issues that follow that, are by far thousands of times worse then I think even Dickens might have imagined.
What is your favorite costume for this role? Why?
Certainly the “Ghost in the Window” costume. It’s the most comfortable.
This is your co-star, Chris Kayser’s, 20th production and final season as Scrooge. If asked to return as Bob Cratchit, how long do you see yourself playing this role?
As long as I feel there is something I can bring to the role that reflects honesty, and that people can take something from [my performance] they might not have expected from the character.
What advice would you give to up and coming actors?
Do YOU. There isn’t anything or anyone in the world that can ‘validate’ your craft more than you. This isn’t to say there are not those that can help you, or WILL help you along the way. But know that it is ultimately YOUR journey and, in a very REAL way, you will get out of it what you put in.
After you wrap A Christmas Carol at the Alliance Theatre, what’s next for you?
David Mamet’s “RACE” at True Colors Theatre. I’m pretty excited.
What is your dream role?
I’d love to play Bill Cosby.
Neal Ghant can be seen in the popular Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol at the Alliance Theatre now through December 29th. To purchase tickets, visit http://alliancetheatre.org.