What is more Christmas-y than Dickens? I had the pleasure of going to a reading by the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens last night. His name is Gerald Charles Dickens and is an actor by profession.
It was held at the Byers Choice auditorium in a neighboring town. You know Byers Choice–they are the company that makes those caroling figurines. It was a full house.
The stage was set with a Victorian parlor scene and while we waited for the reading to begin a singing group from two neighboring high school choirs entertained us with carols a cappella. Their amusing simple costumes put us right in the mood of Dickens characters.
Mr. Dickens came out on stage in a long tailed coat and top hat, flashy watch chain, etc. He gave the entire “reading” of A Christmas Carol and made the old tale seem new again with his wonderful varied voices for different characters—and touches of warm humor to string us along even though we had heard the tale many times before. He truly is a wonderful actor and regaled us with a great show. He leapt about the stage and the minutes flew by.
Afterwards, many of us followed him to a room where he signed autographs and books, etc.
I complimented his performance and told him I’m currently reading Bleak House. Ah, says he, he loves the book. And that most people mention the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities as the best—“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .” yet he likes the opening of Bleak House better. (the fog) More on this with my Bleak House book review to follow when I’m finished. He was gracious and friendly and signed my program for me.
There are wonderful exhibits in the building of Dickens type decorations, because the Byers Choice carolers are based on the Victorian era. We wandered through room after room of Byers Choice caroler exhibits–exquisitely done in extensive panoramas—-almost a Victorian museum in itself. There was a mock-up poster of the “real” Charles Dickens advertising a reading—for that is indeed what the original author did almost to the last days of his life.
and this cardboard figure of a fellow in one of the hallways!
All in all, an evening of fun and Christmas spirit. It will be fun to remember the antics of the actor as I read along in Bleak House nonsense. I only read a little each night, so it might be awhile before I do my book review. But another Dickens thing I mean to do right after Christmas is start my new puzzle!
Isn’t it great? I think I’ll need your help!