Sitting in his living room, surrounded by the bustle of his family, Carson Hunter takes a breath before speaking.
The 11-year-old Langford resident stars as Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story: The Musical, put on by the Victoria Operatic Society this December. Well-spoken and more than a touch bashful one-on-one, his eyes shine as he talks about the upcoming show.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together,” he says with a shy smile. “We’re just trying to get it spotless now, running the (musical) numbers over and over.”
This is Carson’s first big starring role, having earned supporting roles in Oliver, Anne of Green Gables, and Seussical the Musical over the past few years. He didn’t originally intend to step up to the main role in of Ralphie, auditioning for the part of younger brother Randy at first.
“I didn’t think I was ready and I was kind of nervous,” he says. But he read a few lines for Ralphie and got a callback, and next thing he knew, he was headlining the show.
Ask Carson what his alter-ego Ralphie wants for Christmas, and a glimpse of the character he’ll play on stage gleams out, his confidence unshakeable as he rattles off the gun’s specs in a single breath.
“An official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot BB gun.” For anyone not familiar with the iconic movie, the story is wholly about Ralphie’s burning desire for the BB gun, and his increasingly desperate schemes to ensure it’s under the tree come Christmas morning, despite hearing a chorus of “You’ll shoot your eye out!” from nearly every other character.
After watching the movie, Carson’s mom, Cathy Clarke, says he could definitely relate to Ralphie, though her son’s “BB gun” was more of an iPhone 5, she says, laughing.
Carson’s passion for performing has been evident since he was a toddler, she notes. “He’s always showed interest since he was a wee boy. It keeps him busy and it’s so enjoyable to watch him finally on stage (after all the work of rehearsing). In the end, it’s so worth it to see him on stage. He just shines.”
Carson’s parents, brother and sister are all involved with his theatrical adventures. “They’re really supportive,” he says of his family. “They’ll do anything to help me reach my goals.”
“The theatre companies he’s been working with, no matter how much experience they have, everyone gets along so well,” adds dad, Dave Hunter. “It really is like an extended family.”
With his love of performing, adorable freckles staining his nose and cheeks and a charmingly sweet personality, Carson clearly has the makings of a successful actor. Whether in film, television or on stage, time will tell where he finds his niche.
The show runs from Dec. 5 to 14 at the McPherson Playhouse. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 250-386-6121, or going online to rmts.bc.ca.