Just like a Christmas tree, twinkling lights and Christmas cards, Christmas just would not be the same without Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
The famous first line, “Marley was dead to begin with,” and the expression, “Old Marley was as “dead as a doornail,” gets people into the mood to sit back and enjoy the story that unfolds. Of course, we know what happens – we have seen or heard this story many times before and yet we never tire of it.
The tale of social criticism has been made into many different movies – Alistair Sim as Scrooge by far the most popular.
Dickens wrote this little book in 1843, and considered it the greatest success he ever achieved. When he finished the book, he put it and broke out like a madman, throwing himself eagerly into Christmas celebrations – very much as he described Scrooge behaving after he wakes up and finds himself in his own bed, left with the messages of all the ghosts that visited him during the night.
In the 1840s, the social criticism Dickens made through his stories were well-founded. Children were made to work in mines and factories, and the streets and rivers were filled with dirt, grime and filth. In a single month in 1847, half a million people were infected with typhus fever. That was the setting in which Scrooge was being miserly, with his fortune tucked away.
In 1853, Dickens read the story in front of an audience and continued to do so until 1870, when he read it for the last time in London.
There are many productions of readings by just one individual or by many. Almost every theatre company in North America and the United Kingdom has a production and adaptation going. And so has the Sicamous Amateur Drama Club. The first “run” was six years in a row, with a total of 40 in the cast, including singers and dancers. As the director and the one who did the adaptation of this particular production, I was absolutely sure I would never do this story again. After all, 24 performances with great audience turnout was enough, and I thought I was tired of it. However, the absence of this story during Christmas time haunted me, as the ghosts haunted Ebenezer Scrooge. Why, I could not tell you. It simply is not Christmas without hearing this Dickens’ story of transformation, of a miserly man devoid of pleasures to a man who experiences the joys of Christmas.
This year’s production by the Sicamous Amateur Drama Club will be a great evening/afternoon at the Red Barn Arts Centre with hot chocolate and cookies and a warm Christmas atmosphere. So join them on Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30), and Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m., (doors open at 1:30). Tickets are only $5 (includes the chocolate and cookies), and are available at Eagle Valley Pharmacy.
I wish all readers of this column the very best for the holiday season, with health, happiness and happy times with family and friends.
For Art news and information, call Carla Krens at 250-836-4705, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.