Home The Play Press Writer/Performer Performance Schedule Links Contact


 

 

 

The Play
This one-act, one-hour, solo stage adaptation of A Christmas Carol is enacted by Dickens himself, and is based on a condensed version of the novel that he used while on the second of his historic reading tours of the United States.


The Story
Through an unexpected turn of events, Charles Dickens' American Reading Tour in 1867 is off to a 'rough' start. However, Mr. Dickens -- always the consummate showman -- triumphantly proclaims that he will deliver what he has promised to present! By changes of voice, gesture and expression, he peoples the stage with a throng of characters from his classic Christmas tale and recreates, with improvised wit and charm, the familiar journey of Ebenezer Scrooge -- an embittered, lonely, old miser, who (with the help of three spirits) finds a second chance to become a generous, caring human being. What sets this fresh, new adaptation apart is its ability to rely on the power of the text -- shared simply, directly and intimately through great storytelling.


Venues & Audiences
As the "Inimitable Boz," Greg Oliver Bodine has been thrilling diverse audiences of all ages at theatres, festivals, colleges and libraries since 2003.  A Christmas Carol is ideal for gala benefits, fund-raising, educational and limited engagement holiday events.  Experience this one-man tour de force and see for yourself what everyone's talking about!

 

The Novel
I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humor with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant,

C.D.

December, 1843


  


Dickens began writing his "Little Carol" in October, 1843 finishing it by the end of November in time to be published for Christmas. Feuding with his publishers, Dickens financed the publishing of the book himself, ordering lavish binding, gilt edging, and hand–colored illustrations and then setting the price at 5 shillings so that everyone could afford it. This combination resulted in disappointingly low profits despite high sales. In the first few days of its release the book sold six thousand copies and its popularity continued to grow. The first and best of his Christmas Books, A Christmas Carol has become a Christmas tradition and easily Dickens' best known book. (1)
Dickens: The Public Readings
Charles Dickens' public readings were dramatic, hypnotic and hugely popular. As well as being one of our greatest novelists, Dickens developed a new, composite art form in his stage performances – acting out specially adapted passages from his own works and varying his expressions and speech patterns, so that it seemed as if he were becoming possessed by the characters he created. His reading tours won him huge popular acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.

Why did Dickens take his show on the road?

His first public readings in 1853 were for charity. Soon, though, the offers of payment were coming in, and Dickens, always with an eye for the business opportunity, was tempted. The lure of public performance proved too much, and the author turned professional in 1858. His American readings alone, from December 1867 to April 1868, earned him over £19,000, a colossal sum at the time; it was certainly more than he was earning from his published works. (2)

The performances initially included: A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and Cricket on the Hearth. Later, Dickens incorporated scenes from Dombey and Son, Nicholas Nickleby, Pickwick Papers, Martin Chuzzlewit, and his favorite -- David Copperfield. He tightened the narrative and wrote stage directions to himself in the margins. Dickens' biographer, Edgar Johnson, on the public readings:

"It was more than a reading; it was an extraordinary exhibition of acting ...without a single prop or bit of costume, by changes of voice, by gesture, by vocal expression, Dickens peopled his stage with a throng of characters." (3)


Charles Dickens' American Reading Tour, 1867-1868
In 1867, Charles Dickens embarked on his second reading tour of the United States, arriving in Boston by steamer on Tuesday, November 19th. The original plan called for a visit to Chicago and as far west as St. Louis. Because of ill-health and bad weather, this idea was scrapped and he did not venture from the eastern states, staying five months and giving 76 performances. (4)