Dec 17, 2015
By VIRGINIA KROPF - The Daily News Online
BATAVIA â When Sean Williams assisted Patrick Burk a year ago in directing âDraculaâ for the Batavia Players, he knew he had found a new niche.
Sean also came to mind when Burk, the troupeâs president and artistic director, learned that his wife needed surgery. Burk asked Sean and his wife, Wendy, to be co-directors of the season-ending Christmas presentation of Dickensâ âA Christmas Carol.â
âThis Christmas show is one of Patrickâs babies, so when he asked us direct it, I was honored he trusted us with the show,â Sean said.
Both Sean and Wendy come with a background in performing.
He is the new band director at Batavia Middle School and once directed a school presentation of âArsenic and Old Laceâ while working in Wolcott. Both are from Hilton and graduated together. Wendy was an equity actor in Cleveland before coming back to Western New York in 2002. She started acting here in 2012.
Wendy works with children and is assistant director with a childrenâs production troupe. She has also written and directed a historical play of Ohio.
Sean has appeared in at least 15 productions, and while he likes acting, he enjoys directing. His acting appearances had him cast in roles of comic relief or the villain.
âI could easily have been Scrooge,â he said.
Sean said they have an outstanding cast, including Bill Moon, who is playing Ebeneezer Scrooge for the third time.
âHe plays âcrochetyâ better than anybody Iâve ever seen,â Sean said.
Anthony Giambrone, who plays Jacob Marleyâs ghost, was also absolutely brilliant as the maniacal psychotic Renfield in Dracula, Sean said.
Giambroneâs performance in âA Christmas Carolâ is payback for a favor he owed Sean.
âHe needed a man to play a woman in his last production (I was Mama in Hairspray), so I called him in to play Jacob Marleyâs ghost,â Sean said.
Sean is putting his own spin on the Christmas special.
âIn all the productions Iâve seen, Jacob Marley is not that scary,â Sean said. âMy Jacob Marley is not only the scariest actor I know, but I rewrote the scene I call âJacobâs Reveal.â It includes spooky ghost sounds, bells ringing uncontrollably and Jacob Marleyâs head levitating.â
Sean refuses to say how he achieved the levitating head, but said people will have to come and see for themselves.
In addition to co-directing, Wendy plays the Ghost of Christmas Past and choreographed the show.
Sean said there is a difference between acting in a show and being the director.
âAs an actor, you are focused on developing your own character and where it fits in the show,â Sean said. âAs director, you view the whole scope. You work with each character and have to be aware how they relate to each other.â
He said âA Christmas Carolâ has a remarkable cast of young actors, and praised Wendy for her work with them.
âShe even brought in Victorian textbooks and paper dolls so the kids could see how their character would have looked back then,â Sean said.
âA Christmas Carolâ will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17, 18 and 19 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20 at Harvester 56 Theater, 56 Harvester Ave.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. They are available at the door, or through www.showtix4u.com.