After 18 years of waiting, Martin Pedersen finally gets his Christmas wish of playing Ebeneezer Scrooge in an upcoming production of A Christmas Carol.
The 31-year-old Penticton actor said the infamous villian turned good guy has been top of his list for roles because of the complexities of the well-known Charles Dickens’ character.
“I wanted to play Scrooge because as angry as he is in the beginning he makes this marvelous transformation into a good man. He makes a complete turnaround,” he said prior to the opening night on Dec. 6 of the holiday classic at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian.
Pedersen is known around the Okanagan for his portrayal of villains from Captain Hook in Peter Pan to Claude Richefort in Raft of the Medusa.
Since he was five he’s acted in a variety of plays in community theatre productions up and down the Okanagan including several productions at his alma mater Penticton Secondary School and for other productions in Penticton, Kelowna, Oliver, Osoyoos and more.
It all started with a holiday church production where he played a little church mouse named Christopher. During the performance he tripped over his pants and hit and his head accidentally giving himself a concussion. Since then he’s been hooked on acting, he said with a laugh.
Pedersen said he’s often cast as the villain because of his dark facial hair and and intense appearance, but he doesn’t mind.
“When a grandmother says she hates you that’s a compliment. That means you’ve gotten a little old lady to believe you that you’re a mean person. That’s acting,” he said.
Pedersen studied acting at Capilano University and has appeared as an extra in two TV shows and a zombie movie.
All of this is amazing, but even more so when one finds out that at 18 months old doctor’s predicted Pedersen would never walk. Pedersen suffered six Grand mal seizures, a heart attack and was paralyzed by the neck down. Defying doctor’s Pedersen had recovered by the age of three.
“I had serious trauma to my brain,” he said. “My father was in a plane crash when I was still in my mother’s womb. He was so burned and hurt that the only way my mother identified him was through his toes. They think the stress filtered down from my mom to me.”
His father miraculously made a full recovery.
“I’m a medical anomaly. One of those symptoms would have killed someone else but I lived,” he said.
He said he doesn’t take a day for granted so between his jobs in construction in the summer and industrial work in the winter he fits in as many productions a year as possible.
“I spread myself a little thin,” he said with a chuckle.
An added bonus to his most recent role of Scrooge is that he’ll be acting alongside his cousin Andreas Nordlund who plays Tiny Tim.
“He does a good job with it,” he said.
Colin Cross director of St. Andrew’s Players production of A Christmas Carol said it was a natural pick.
“It’s a classic Christmas story. A lot of people are really attached to this story. It’s a great kick-off to the season,” he said.
The production is a larger one for the St. Andrew’s Players with 20 cast members total. The cast includes several children.
“It gives them a chance to get on stage and learn and that’s really what community theatre is about,” he said.
The show opens Dec. 6 and runs until Dec. 11. Saturday and Sunday shows start at 2:30 p.m. the rest of the shows begin at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $20 and can be bought at Dragon’s Den or at the door. Children 12 and under are free.