An Interview with the Cast: Christmas Past
We’re keeping the holiday cheer flowing with more interviews from the cast of Nonfat Soy Peppermint Mocha Latte… with Sprinkles: A Tale of Christmas Spirit. Today, the Brelby Buzz talks to Jessica Holt and Matt Clarke, the actors who portray Daren’s parents. These characters only exist because of the magic from the Spirit of Christmas, but they play a huge part in helping Daren rediscover the meaning of Christmas. Read on as these actors give us their experience in the rehearsal room with the cast and their take on how to shake the ghosts of Christmas past.
Daren’s mother and father both have contributed to their son’s lack of holiday spirit. Discuss how the implications of a past Christmas can affect the enjoyment of holiday and the lessons Mocha Latte can teach audiences about moving beyond your past.
Jessica: Daren’s Mother made a lot of serious mistakes in her life, and this is her chance to try and save her son from a future filled with sadness and regret. I feel like in visiting Daren she’s trying to make up for the terrible things she did in life, and she is fighting for her son’s happiness.
Matt: Daren’s Dad carries the weight of the fallout from his failed marriage, skewing his view of the holiday season, thus impacting his relationship with his son and shaping his future view of Christmas. I relate more to Daren when I think of the relationship between him and his father; I had two uncles who fought all the time, but what really ruined Christmas for me was seeing my Grandmother work so hard to bring her family together every year and have to play negotiator or pick and choose which side of the family would show up each year. Even if both showed up, they wouldn’t talk and things would be awkward. These two grown men couldn’t even set aside their differences for one day just to see their children bond with family and see their aging parents happy. This proved, to me, there was no such thing as “holiday spirit” and I always found or made excuses to avoid any holiday event, including my family’s Christmas day gathering. It wasn’t until years later that my perspective changed when my friends started a tradition where they take me Christmasing (ice-skating, light-viewing, hot cocoa drinking, caroling, baking, Christmas Special-viewing, all kinds of good stuff), but this wasn’t the most significant reason to the change in my views of the holidays. The greatest contributor to the change in my perspective was my daughter. Seeing her unhampered, uncalloused, fresh-eyed, perspective completely gave me a new
view of what Christmas could be. Suddenly, everything was magical and new. Now, none of the old drama or negative memories matter, all that matters is creating a positive holiday environment where my daughter can forge her own delightful Christmas memories, unimpacted by my previous bias. Unfortunately, Daren’s parents were unable to do this for him, but Mocha Latte teaches its audience, something I have thankfully learned, that allowing your past to weigh you down can very easily ruin your present.
Mocha Latte deals heavily with redemption and facing your past. Discuss how forgiveness is essential in putting to rest the ghosts of the Past and why you think this theme is so prevalent in holiday shows.
Jessica: The holidays are an emotional time – for good or bad. A painful or sad memory can easily color the whole season. Things that usually bring joy, instead remind you of what once was, or what could have been. However, this play reminds us that there is so much more love and joy in the world than there is pain, it’s up to us to embrace the good, learn from the past, and find a way to heal.
I believe that people have a tendency to hold on to anger and hurt. Sometimes it’s easier to wrap yourself in the protective shell that comes from being cold and aloof than it is to be open and vulnerable. Learning to forgive and put the ghosts of the past to rest is key to holiday shows because it is so strongly linked to the things that make the holidays great. Forgiveness increases your love towards your fellow man, and it is a gift that you give those you forgive, as well as yourself. I also think that a lot of it stems from the religious nature of Christmas – we are celebrating the birth of the Savior, who is the ultimate example of forgiveness. I think that for many, that knowledge helps to inspire their own ability to forgive. Regardless of whether someone is religious or not, the season is a time for renewal, giving, joy, and light. The best way to experience the wonder of the season is to do so with an open heart, free from anger.
Matt: A lack of forgiveness is a huge hindrance in one’s life. If you’re spending all of your time and thoughts in the past, how can you live in the future? But, I believe it’s particularly prevalent in this genre because the holidays are an odd time when it comes to chronology; this is a season where so many wonderful memories are crafted and so many people naturally becomes very nostalgic and many also consider it a time for remembering. The holiday season walks a fine line between the past and present, as well as the future with New Year’s right around the corner.
What’s been your favorite part of the rehearsal process and working on this Holiday show?
Jessica: The rehearsal process has been so wonderful. Bonding with the cast has been my favorite thing. These are some incredible people and I’m so happy I got to know them all through this process.
Matt: I’ll agree! My absolute favourite part of this process has definitely been the people involved. The cast, crew and Company have been an absolute delight, and created such a fun, creative environment in which to collaborate on this show.