Oh, hello toasted marshmallows (that one was a reach) you're here for more?
I don't know if you've heard, but we're producing a little old winter show in partnership with The Dukes and supported by Arts Council England...
(It's The Snow Queen, jeez, where have you been?)
But before our snowy, shadowy, Christmas offering gets underway, we'd like to introduce you to the tree-mendous cast and crew that made it all possible, addressing hard-hitting questions such as 'penguins or polar bears?' and 'if you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?' Real gritty stuff.
Here, we have Alicia McKenzie and Adam McCoy. Take it away my good fellows!
Who are you - tell us a bit about yourself!
Alicia: Hi. I’m Alicia - an actor, musician, storyteller, facilitator. Based in Manchester but originally from Darlington. I’ve been acting professionally for about 10 years. When I’m not acting I teach English to students from all over the world. And when I’m not doing that I’m usually having a little play on the piano, out for a walk, or guiltily streaming my way through a sci-fi boxed set.
Adam: I’m Adam! I’m an actor originally from Liverpool and I play the Snow Queen, Kai and Cawlin!
Who do you play in 3LF's The Snow Queen and how would you describe your role(s)?
Alicia: In the Snow Queen I’m voicing the characters of Cawdelia, Wicked Robber Woman and Violet - one of the flowers. Cawdelia is a bird - a woodpecker. She speaks her mind and doesn’t suffer fools. She can be a bit pecky with her husband but ultimately is full of love and care and helps Gerda. Wicked Robber Woman has had a hard life. All she knows is a life of crime and can be murderous if you get on the wrong side of her! Violet describes herself as vivacious and that she is. She’s silly, giggly, always looking for fun and can be a little mischievous to get it.
Adam: The Snow Queen who's merciless and unforgiving, with a heart as cold as ice, Kai, Gerda’s best friend, who's all talk and no trousers, and finally Cawlin; he's a spirited and comical crow who takes Gerda under his wing!
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of acting?
Alicia: For those thinking of getting into acting, I would say, just go for it. Join your local theatre group, see lots of shows, make films with your friends. Just give it a go. I would also say you’re never too old or too young. Actors are supposed to reflect real life, and people come in all ages, sizes, ethnicities. And if you’re thinking 'well they don’t have people like me doing the kind of performance I want to do' then all the more reason to get out there and show people what they’re missing out on! That’s what I did.
What's the reason you got involved with theatre?
Alicia: When I was at school I was really into music. I played several instruments - piano, cello, drums - and sang in several choirs. I actually really wanted to be a musician and so I applied to go to music school. I had a few auditions and got quite far into the process, but ultimately was not quite ready to leave home and orientate my life around it. Around the same time I auditioned for the National Youth Theatre. I’d done bits of acting by that point - I was studying GCSE drama and I attended Stagecoach - but I hadn’t done any big parts or productions. Anyway to my great surprise I got in!!! I was off for a three week stay in London with young people from all around the country who were also really into performing arts. From then on I was hooked.
Adam: To answer your question, I got into acting because when I was about four I caught 'the bug' - I just wanted to entertain anyone who would listen to me or watch me perform shows in my living room! I also listened to countless movie musicals at home. I think I know the full scripts to The Wizard of Oz and Grease!
How have you managed to stay creative during lockdown?
Adam: I have binge-watched all the amazing Netflix shows, listen to lots of music and done some singing and voice-over stuff from home! I've also ran my own performing arts classes for young people, so there have been lots of zoom classes and workshops going on - which have been challenging but worth it - in order to keep our students actively involved in their classes throughout lockdown.
Why did you want to get involved with The Snow Queen?
Alicia: I’ve done lots of live theatre work but I haven’t had that many opportunities with voice acting. I applied because I wanted the chance to work on a new skill, even if it was just for the audition. Once I read the audition material I got really excited about the project. I had so much fun trying out different voices. I wasn’t expecting to get the part so was extremely pleased when I did.
What was your first acting role?
Adam: My first acting job was when I was really young, playing a character called Josh in a soap opera called Brookside that was set in Liverpool.
Without wild spoilers, tell us one of your favourite lines.
Alicia: Cawdelia’s line: "When you're not out picking up waifs and ragamuffins, you're caw-vorting with woodpigeons. It's too much, Cawlin, too much!" My dad used to jokingly call us ‘ragamuffins’ when we were kids. That’s maybe where I got the idea for the voice.
What's going to surprise people about this show?
Adam: I think what will surprise people about this show, is how beautiful the puppetry is, and the fact that it's so detailed - clearly the production was a collaborative process - that was completed in a national lockdown! The script is true to the traditional tale with some lovely influences to the Danish folklore in the original story, but full of fun quips and diverse characters!
What's your favourite Christmas song?
Alicia: It’s gotta be Last Christmas by Wham. The story gets me every time.
Adam: Oh! Anything by Darlene Lowe or The Ronettes. I love the old-style Christmas classics.
Have you taken from any influences to voice your character(s)?
Adam: I'd say there's definitely a bit of Glenn Close's Cruella de Vil in there. And Kai... maybe a young Chesney from Corrie!
Penguins or polar bears?
Alicia: Polar Bears!!! Probably because I’m a massive His Dark Materials fan.
What are your favourite Christmas traditions?
Adam: My favourite Christmas tradition is a pantomime!
How do you like your eggs in the morning?
Alicia: Possibly not a popular choice but I’m a big fan of a boiled egg. Put in boiling water for 6 minutes - they come out perfect every time. Slightly runny yolk, but the white definitely cooked.
What's your favourite Christmas story/film, and why?
Adam: My fave Christmas film would have to be... either The Holiday or Home Alone. Or maybe Elf?! Or The Grinch!! Don't make me choose.
If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?
Alicia: Ooh! Nina Simone. With double pianos - 'Birds flying high, you know how I feel'
Definitely would be Feeling Good!