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By Brian Robin

The Story Behind the Photo—The Fezziwigs

They are the life of the party. The hosts with the most.

Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig are generous with the food, drink and holiday cheer at their annual party. That explains why the Fezziwig Party is always one of the most popular—and definitely the most lively—scenes in SCR’s production of A Christmas Carol, running through Dec. 24 on the Segerstrom Stage.

Bo Foxworth and Diana Burbano play Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig, your hosts at the festive occasion that helps remind Ebenezer Scrooge—with an assist from the Spirit of Christmas Past—about a happy and pivotal time in his life. That’s when he and Belle got together.

Foxworth and Burbano are both newcomers to A Christmas Carol, although Burbano understudied all of the adult female roles last year. Both bring extensive SCR credits to the stage. Burbano was in both the indoor (2019) and outdoor (2021) productions of American Mariachi, along with the Theatre for Young Audience productions of The Hoboken Chicken Emergency(2004), Bunnicula (2005), James and theGiant Peach (2006), Charlotte’s Web(2008), Imagine (2008) and The Emperor’s New Clothes (2011). A produced playwright who teaches playwriting in SCR’s Adult Conservatory, Burbano’s Fabulous Monsters premiered at The Public Theatre in San Antonio earlier this year.

Foxworth’s SCR credits include Amadeus (2016), All the Way (2016) and Shakespeare in Love (2018). He worked in numerous New York theatres, including spending a year in the off-Broadway hit As Bees in Honey Drown at the Lucille Lortel. Since moving to Los Angeles. His numerous film and television credits include “Modern Family,” “VEEP” and as Robert McNamara in the HBO movie All The Way.

The pair took time away from A Christmas Carol to discuss the story behind the photo, above.

What moment does this depict?

Diana Burbano: “This is the middle of the Roger de Coverley dance when Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig take center stage in a moment of complete joy and abandon. You can see they really love each other and they are there to share their love and show Scrooge that transcendent change is possible and that it can last. You see that moment in the picture. They are laughing at themselves. They came down tripping like two young kids in love and everyone is enjoying watching them. They take a lot of joy in everyone’s silliness.”

Bo Foxworth: “It’s me and Mrs. Fezziwig kicking it down the center of the aisle. It’s our solo. I love doing that scene. Everything’s so much fun. In rehearsal, I got thrown in because everyone else knew this dance. When we started, we went in with the bare bones of movements, so I could learn the movements. I reviewed it through videos with (partner and Mrs. Cratchit) Elyse (Mirto) in our apartment. Then, we brought everyone in and it came to life.”

What message are you trying to convey?

DB: “For me, it’s very simple. How much she loves him. She loves being Mrs. Fezziwig and she loves throwing a massive party for the guests. She has a lot of love to give and is happy to do it (throw the party).”

BF: “He loves that this is the most giving, loving and spiritual time of the year. It means the world to him to give happiness. How good that feeling must make you feel and I think that’s what he’s all about. How amazing it is to see someone give something to someone else and see what it does for them.”

Tell me about the impact of this scene:

DB: “For me, I love this scene and I love the ending. I love the affection Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig have for each other. The impact of the scene is how it ends on such a high—the lovers kissing and everyone eating and happy. The impact is to bring joy to Scrooge. You notice the next scene is the breakup scene between Scrooge and Belle. You see the highest of the high and the lowest in the low in his past juxtaposed next to each other.”

BF: “To me, it’s one of the high points of the play. There’s the Fred scene (at the end) and this scene. The joyfulness and playfulness of people having a good time at a party. For the audience, it’s that we need to see the life that Ebenezer could have had. You kind of see the possibilities he had and it begins here. There has to be this moment of joy of these two (the Fezziwigs) coming together. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the audience sees the path in front of Scrooge.”

About the author

South Coast Repertory

South Coast Repertory is a Tony Award-winning theatre is known for producing classics, contemporary hits and world premieres, for having the largest new-play development program in the nation and for advancing the art of theatre in service to the community. 

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