by Kirby Lindsay, posted 14 December 2011
This production, ably directed by Arlene Martinez-Vazquez, stages a different adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ story than done last year, yet the heart-warming, holiday show still explores the mixed joys of family, celebrations and memories grown rosy with age. This year a more professional cast that includes solid performances by Carolynne Wilcox (as Bessie) and Jillian Boshart (as Mom) give the story depth and power.
Dylan, The Younger
This year two actors share the role of Dylan Thomas. Tom Stewart plays a splendid, poetic, adult Thomas, while Sophia Mitri Schloss realizes the spirited, plainer-spoken ‘child’ of the title.
Schloss is frankly remarkable. On the advice of her director, the nine-year-old girl observed the boys at her school to incorporate mannerisms into her part. She has noticed the double standard – boys in the cast (five children perform in all) can do something ‘girly’ without notice, but she must not risk giving herself away.
Tougher still, “Dylan is not like me,” she explained, “he speaks his mind. His favorite part of Christmas is opening his presents.” She must fight her natural instincts. “I don’t wildly open my presents,” she said – confirmed by her mom, Irene Mitri. According to Mitri, director Martinez-Vazquez observed that, ‘Dylan is not sophisticated Sophia.’
Schloss, The Actress
While only nine, Schloss already has an impressive resume with credits from television, video game, theater, film, and voiceover work. She also sings, plays the piano and, occasionally, the violin. In person, as herself, she is well-spoken and intelligent as she talks about her acting career.
“My goal is to meet a lot of experienced actors,” she explained, “maybe get coaching from them so I can make something better.” Since age four, she has pursued acting. “I started to watch movies,” she recalled, “and the special features.” The documentaries on how movies get made convinced her, she said, “I decided I really wanted to do it.”
Schloss performs locally – she’s been at Book-It Repertory, Seattle Opera and with Lucia Neare in productions of ‘Lullaby Moon’ in 2009. She also had a role in the pilot episode of the television show Grimm. For Schloss the production was, “really, really fun. Everyone was very nice.” For the show she played a child, stolen by a postman, tossed in a sack and hidden in a basement. While she watched her scenes, the show is too mature for her to watch in its entirety.
When asked about her preference – film or theater – Schloss answered diplomatically, “I like them both for different reasons.” She enjoys being able to re-do scenes – the cut-and-paste method of film – as much as she likes how theater doesn’t have that option. “The audience is watching you,” she observed, and can respond.
‘A Child’s…’, The Show
Even after all these years performing, “I usually do get nervous, no matter how prepared I am,” Schloss said. Before going on, she’s “thinking about the part, about the show, and all the things that could go wrong.”
“I like ‘A Child’s Christmas’ because it starts with singing carols,” Schloss observed, “so you can get a look at the audience.” Before each show, the cast invites the audience into the holiday setting by singing, a cappella, a selection of carols. Schloss also enjoys working with other children on this production. “I have someone to play with,” she said enthusiastically.
For ‘A Child’s…’ Stone Soup has cast members from their Youth Conservancy, but Schloss got the part after her mom saw a notice for auditions on T.P.S. (Theatre Puget Sound.) Schloss has chosen to act, and her parents have supported her – often, “they find things for me,” she said of her roles. Her dad, Andy Schloss, got her the tryout for ‘Lullaby Moon’ by asking around after they saw a performance in the Greenwood neighborhood.
“She’s a trouper,” Andy Schloss described, “She has gone so far beyond what I thought she could do at her age.” Her mom has stated her opinion even more simply. “I think Sophia’s amazing. She has an incredible work ethic. I love that she does what she loves.”
That infectious grin Dylan wears through the 2011 production of ‘A Child’s Christmas In Wales’ at Stone Soup may express a child’s love of performing – or a seasoned actor’s portrayal of a happy child living out the magic of Christmas.
To see Schloss, the rest of the cast, and this holiday favorite at the DownStage, purchase tickets, and see a list of show times, at Brown Paper Tickets. Tickets can also be arranged through the theater at 206/633-1883, or at the door. However, don’t wait too long. This seasonal show has sold out in year’s past as the final performance, on December 24th, nears.
- When Children Take Over The Theater
- by Kirby Lindsay, December 10, 2010
- A Quiet Word On Lullaby Moon
- by Kirby Lindsay, September 8, 2010
- Opera Offers Opportunities For Fremont Youths
- by Kirby Lindsay, February 4, 2011
- A Wealth Of Original Plays, And Playwrights, At Stone Soup
- by Kirby Lindsay, May 10, 2010
©2011 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.