It started with a desire to come home for the holidays.
Brock Vickers is a 2011 and 2012 Georgia Southern University graduate who booked his first professional acting job not long after graduation. He’s been working at various places up and down the East Coast, doing some regional and national tours, and working in regional theater in Philadelphia ever since.
It was in that regional theater that he found himself playing several of the characters in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and he was introduced to the concept of the one-man play — and the idea that would bring him home was born.
“I wanted to find a way to start doing this one-man play that Dickens used to do, so I started looking at ways to try and make it happen and do this fun little show,” Vickers said.
And make it happen he has. Vickers will perform in Dickens’ one-man “A Christmas Carol” at the Emma Kelly Theater on Dec. 21 at 2 and 7 p.m., and on Dec. 22, also at 7 p.m.
Vickers worked as an apprentice at Hedgerow Theatre Company in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania from 2014 to 2016, and during that time, he said he was in more than 20 productions, ranging from classical theater to modern plays. Among those was the annual fully staged production of “A Christmas Carol.” Because of that experience, Vickers wanted to begin performing his own version of it.
“I love the holidays and I love being a part of it, and that was the best part of doing Hedgerow’s Christmas Carol, is that they’ve been doing it for so long that everyone in the area sort of looks at it as one of the things you have to do if you live in Delaware County, you have to go to the Hedgerow Christmas Carol. So I wanted to figure out a way this year, since I wasn’t going to be doing it, to still be a part of the holidays,” he said, adding that it was also a great way to marry his desire to spend the holidays at home with his desire to perform.
“I wanted to come back home and do something that I enjoy doing and do it for someone that has never seen a show like this before,” he said.
Vickers is no stranger to theater-goers in the Boro. A transfer student from Darton, Vickers graced the stage while a Georgia Southern student often, playing roles such as Stephano in “The Tempest,” Thomas Putman in “The Crucible,” Nikos in “Big Love,” The Comendador in “Fuenteovejuna” and Robert in “What Use Are Flowers?”
Lisa Abbott, associate professor of Theatre at GSU and the associate chair of Communication Arts, calls Vickers “one of our most successful alumni.”
“Since he graduated he has not stopped working, which is very impressive in this highly competitive industry,” she said. “Brock is a gifted actor in many ways. His range of roles here at GSU show his versatility. He is a great physical actor and can flip from comedic to dramatic on the spot.”
One of her favorite things about working with Vickers, Abbot said, was his energy.
“He brought such positive energy into the rehearsal process and was completely giving to the other actors he worked with,” she said.
She added that he was one of the few students who took up her challenge to read a new play a week.
“I think that shows the level of commitment that he has made to the work he does,” she said.
Vickers says the experience he gained while at GSU has been invaluable.
“While I was at Southern, if you put the work in, you were going to perform in something. It was nice to be able to get on stage and to be able to learn by doing, which is what I lean on in all of my performances. You learn by doing it again and again and again,” he said. “That’s something that started at Southern. It was a very practical approach to acting. We didn’t talk a lot about theory. We didn’t talk about methods. We focused instead on story and craft, and how do you do it. That’s very much carried over from then until now.”
The one-man production Vickers will bring to the stage at Statesboro’s Emma Kelly Theater will be “a lot of fun.”
“Dickens is a really fun writer. I think that’s actually the best word for it, because when you read any of his books, he’s very opinionated. He has a very active voice, and you can tell he enjoys writing. When you get to be Dickens and do this [condensed] version, the language and all that is very fun. To be able to play all these characters that people know is also just a fun sort of place to go, playing both Scrooge and Bob Cratchett,” he said.
Vickers will be performing in his hometown of Alma as well. All the performances will be a “very simple version that is done more for a love of the story and a love of Dickens than big production value,” he said. He is hoping to make it an annual tradition, and add shows in other cities as well.
“This will be a very straightforward, let-me-tell-you-a-story version of ‘A Christmas Carol,’” he said.
The production is directed by Rebecca Cureton, who has helped Vickers prepare and craft the story, which will be unlike anything audiences have seen before.
“I get to be a little goofy, a little serious and a little scary at times, because all of the characters are being played by one guy. You can expect that the language is exactly from the book, and it’s just done by one person. Hopefully it will be a night where performer and audience get to connect, as opposed to believing in some imaginary fourth wall. It will be a fun night with a story that everyone loves,” he said.
The best part of the whole event, for Vickers, is being able to perform again in Statesboro.
“I’ve always wanted to come back and perform for the people who helped get me started, and my family and friends. I hope that I can do this in the future so that I can bring something of professional quality to Statesboro, to Alma, to any place that would have me,” he said. “I just remember when I was a kid and I saw a production and how blown away I was that that somebody got paid to do that, that that was a job; that you could do that in front of people. So it means a lot to me to have the opportunity to come back home and perform.”
Tickets to the one-man play, “A Christmas Carol,” are $12 and can be purchased online at www.averittcenterforthearts.org or by calling (912) 212-2787.