An Interview with the Cast: Christmas Present
Nonfat Soy Peppermint Mocha Latte… with Sprinkles: A Tale of Christmas Spirit opened last weekend and while they don’t have another performance until Thursday, the Brelby Buzz will be helping them keep us in the Christmas Spirit all week! First up, Matthew Wetzel and Kim See, the actors who portray Bob and Janette give us a sneak peak into the rehearsal process, describe their characters and their unwavering belief in Christmas and each other.
Tell us about Bob and Janette. We see them as individuals but they are a very strong couple and a huge influence on Darren and Trish; what insights can you give us about who they are?
Kim: Janette is essentially the person I wish to be on a regular basis. Her role in Mocha Latte is that of a nurturer and she helps to be the driving force for Trish and Darren at one point in the show. She offers up solid life advice without being judgmental, cares deeply about those close to her, and constantly brings light to other people’s lives. She is, for me, the epitome of Christmas Joy and Thanksgiving. Her warmth and honesty ring true in reminding me the importance of family and love.
Matt: I play Bob. He’s a coworker of Darren’s and married to Janette. I think Bob is a very hopeful person; he has a good work ethic and continually exudes hope that things will work out. Bob and Janette face a lot of obstacles in their relationship and during the course of the show, but the strength of their relationship is that they work to overcome things together and in the end they make it out stronger than before.
What was rehearsing for a Christmas show before Thanksgiving like? Give us some insight into the rehearsal process.
Kim: Melody has been an incredible director, making the entire process of delving into our characters enjoyable. She encouraged us to peel back the layers of our characters and see the similarities in ourselves so we had realness to bring to our characters. Getting to discover the joy and warmth of Janette (who I would totally be friends with in real life) already exists in who I am as a person, makes me smile. Seeing the character development and struggles that surfaced with Janette and in her relationship with Bob, Darren and Trish, made her even more real in my mind. Her enthusiasm for Christmas has also stirred a love of the holidays I’ve never experienced before. While I’m in no way as great a baker as she will ever be, Janette will forever inspire me to welcome in Christmas and baking with open arms.
Matt: My favorite part of the rehearsal process was the emphasis on relationship building. I remember the second time entering the rehearsal space I was told to sit across from Kim, and we had to tell each other three facts about ourselves that the other person didn’t know about. It was very intimate and a great introduction for who would be playing my wife. In general, all of the team building we did allowed us as a group to really bond and connect and it’s created an enjoyable experience for us and has made the relationships onstage more believable because we really mean them.
Bob and Janette do not have an easy life, and things go wrong for them during the course of the show. But they are able to overcome any negativity and place an importance on spending the holiday with friends and family.
Kim: I can relate immensely to Bob and Janette’s ability to look past the negatives in life and remain positive, as it’s something I’ve always tried to do. Janette continually strives to be a better person, and Bob is her source of love and energy. I believe Janette gets her positivity from her husband, and in turn provides unconditional trust and support to Bob. The two of them have created a supportive and loving relationship filled with immense care for the other; that kind of selfless love spreads to all areas of their lives, giving them the ability to create family with whomever they come across.
Matt: Janette and Bob’s love and devotion toward each other is the strength that allows them to look past their obstacles and focus on what is truly important in life. They have a strong set of values and morals, but they choose to embody Christmas spirit all year round. They truly live the idea that we have so much we can share, and they share their time, their things, their life with everyone around them in spite of the obstacles they encounter and in turn they have a lot of support from those around them. They let people in and give of themselves and in their own way celebrate the spirit of Christmas all year round.
Christmas Present is represented in this show by Bob and Janette. They embody what the holidays should be even as things go wrong and continually try to get Darren in the holiday spirit even though they are met with resistance due to Darren’s humbug ways.
Kim: Janette and Bob are the representations of Christmas present, I think solely based on their persistence and infectious warmth. They truly don’t want to see other people unhappy, and will do whatever they can, even if they have to nudge a little more than necessary at times (this is probably more of a Janette thing, but marriage is about teamwork). Even with Christmas ushering in feelings of goodwill, it takes a special person (or two) to take the thoughts and turn them into actions.
Matt: Janette and Bob still try to get Darren to feel christmas spirit even though he shoots them down because they understand he must be acting out of a place of pain, but they also care about him. Darren is a hard guy to love but they believe it’s possible that he’ll be able to experience Christmas and what life can be like if you open up to the world.