The classic story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has entertained families for generations. This story is so well known that it’s main character’s name, Scrooge, is used universally to describe people’s miserly behavior even to this day. In Ray Carver’s adaptation, the story is told in full—but Carver himself portrays every single character.
How to rejuvenate this classic was the problem facing Ray Carver when he decided to mount this production. Imagine this: a Christmas tree with all it’s gifts ripped open, gift wrap strewn across the floor, a television left on that’s droning on with an endless loop of Christmas commercials. Enter Charles Dickens, who after examining the situation and the television’s pull on the audience begins to tell a story–the story of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Playing fifty-eight different characters, from Scrooge to the ghosts to Tiny Tim, Dickens brings back the excitement, suspense, and meaning to this oft-told tale. At the end, when Dickens asks the audience if they’d like the television turned back, audiences always answer back with an emphatic “No.”
This one-man presentation of A Christmas Carol has been performed for multiple consecutive years at The Gayton Kirk. However, it is also available either as a 50 minute one act or a 90 minute two-act production to be perform at your local theatre or event. Since the play is so closely associated with the Christmas holiday season, performances dates will only be accepted for November and December of each year. For more information on bringing this show to your neighborhood, contact Ray Carver at email@example.com.
Copy from the annual Christmas Carol productions:
“A CHRISTMAS CAROL:
a ghost story for Christmas”
Told by the author
Charles Dickens himself.
This Christmas come celebrate Scrooge’s 175th birthday with 3 Penny Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol. Everyone knows Scrooge’s story but you’ve never seen it told like this before -professional actor Ray Carver, as Scrooge’s creator Charles Dickens, tells the tale of the old miser playing all the characters himself — from Scrooge to the ghosts to the whole Crachit family, including Tiny Tim. Over 40 different characters in all! Chicago’s Writer To Writer magazine editor Barbra Croft says Carver presents this classic story as “a ripping good yarn.” The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says Carver’s work “catches the essence”.
“A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story for Christmas” is a one performance only event!– Saturday December 15 at 7 p.m. The performance is at the Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church in Richmond’s far west end – 11421 Gayton Road, Henrico, VA 23238. Bring the family, this production is appropriate for children 5 and above.
Get your tickets before they sell out! Email firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Scrooge’s creator, Charles Dickens, returns to Richmond after his 1842 Visit! Find out more about his visit to RVA below.
More About Dickens’ 1842 Visit to Richmond, Virginia
Click on the link below to Richmond’s Valentine Museum to find out more about Dickens’ visit to Richmond, Va.
Click on the link below to The Charles Dickens Page to find out more about Dickens’ 1842 and 1867 trips to the United States.
Below is what Dickens wrote in his book American Notes about coming to RVA and visiting the city.
“This singular kind of coaching terminates at Fredericksburgh, whence there is a railway to Richmond. The tract of country through which it takes its course was once productive; but the soil has been exhausted by the system of employing a great amount of slave labour in forcing crops, without strengthening the land: and it is now little better than a sandy desert overgrown with trees. Dreary and uninteresting as its aspect is, I was glad to the heart to find anything on which one of the curses of this horrible institution has fallen; and had greater pleasure in contemplating the withered ground, than the richest and most thriving cultivation in the same place could possibly have afforded me.
In this district, as in all others where slavery sits brooding, (I have frequently heard this admitted, even by those who are its warmest advocates:) there is an air of ruin and decay abroad, which is inseparable from the system. The barns and outhouses are mouldering away; the sheds are patched and half roofless; the log cabins (built in Virginia with external chimneys made of clay or wood) are squalid in the last degree. There is no look of decent comfort anywhere. The miserable stations by the railway side, the great wild wood-yards, whence the engine is supplied with fuel; the negro children rolling on the ground before the cabin doors, with dogs and pigs; the biped beasts of burden slinking past: gloom and dejection are upon them all.
In the negro car belonging to the train in which we made this journey, were a mother and her children who had just been purchased; the husband and father being left behind with their old owner. The children cried the whole way, and the mother was misery’s picture. The champion of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, who had bought them, rode in the same train; and, every time we stopped, got down to see that they were safe. The black in Sinbad’s Travels with one eye in the middle of his forehead which shone like a burning coal, was nature’s aristocrat compared with this white gentleman.
It was between six and seven o’clock in the evening, when we drove to the hotel: in front of which, and on the top of the broad flight of steps leading to the door, two or three citizens were balancing themselves on rocking-chairs, and smoking cigars. We found it a very large and elegant establishment, and were as well entertained as travellers need desire to be. The climate being a thirsty one, there was never, at any hour of the day, a scarcity of loungers in the spacious bar, or a cessation of the mixing of cool liquors: but they were a merrier people here, and had musical instruments playing to them o’ nights, which it was a treat to hear again.
The next day, and the next, we rode and walked about the town, which is delightfully situated on eight hills, overhanging James River; a sparkling stream, studded here and there with bright islands, or brawling over broken rocks. Although it was yet but the middle of March, the weather in this southern temperature was extremely warm; the peech-trees and magnolias were in full bloom; and the trees were green. In a low ground among the hills, is a valley known as ‘Bloody Run,’ from a terrible conflict with the Indians which once occurred there. It is a good place for such a struggle, and, like every other spot I saw associated with any legend of that wild people now so rapidly fading from the earth, interested me very much.
The city is the seat of the local parliament of Virginia; and in its shady legislative halls, some orators were drowsily holding forth to the hot noon day. By dint of constant repetition, however, these constitutional sights had very little more interest for me than so many parochial vestries; and I was glad to exchange this one for a lounge in a well-arranged public library of some ten thousand volumes, and a visit to a tobacco manufactory, where the workmen are all slaves.
I saw in this place the whole process of picking, rolling, pressing, drying, packing in casks, and branding. All the tobacco thus dealt with, was in course of manufacture for chewing; and one would have supposed there was enough in that one storehouse to have filled even the comprehensive jaws of America. In this form, the weed looks like the oil-cake on which we fatten cattle; and even without reference to its consequences, is sufficiently uninviting.
Many of the workmen appeared to be strong men, and it is hardly necessary to add that they were all labouring quietly, then. After two o’clock in the day, they are allowed to sing, a certain number at a time. The hour striking while I was there, some twenty sang a hymn in parts, and sang it by no means ill; pursuing their work meanwhile. A bell rang as I was about to leave, and they all poured forth into a building on the opposite side of the street to dinner. I said several times that I should like to see them at their meal; but as the gentleman to whom I mentioned this desire appeared to be suddenly taken rather deaf, I did not pursue the request. Of their appearance I shall have something to say, presently.
On the following day, I visited a plantation or farm, of about twelve hundred acres, on the opposite bank of the river. Here again, although I went down with the owner of the estate, to ‘the quarter,’ as that part of it in which the slaves live is called, I was not invited to enter into any of their huts. All I saw of them, was, that they were very crazy, wretched cabins, near to which groups of half-naked children basked in the sun, or wallowed on the dusty ground. But I believe that this gentleman is a considerate and excellent master, who inherited his fifty slaves, and is neither a buyer nor a seller of human stock; and I am sure, from my own observation and conviction, that he is a kind-hearted, worthy man.
The planter’s house was an airy, rustic dwelling, that brought Defoe’s description of such places strongly to my recollection. The day was very warm, but the blinds being all closed, and the windows and doors set wide open, a shady coolness rustled through the rooms, which was exquisitely refreshing after the glare and heat without. Before the windows was an open piazza, where, in what they call the hot weather — whatever that may be — they sling hammocks, and drink and doze luxuriously. I do not know how their cool rejections may taste within the hammocks, but, having experience, I can report that, out of them, the mounds of ices and the bowls of mint-julep and sherry-cobbler they make in these latitudes, are refreshments never to be thought of afterwards, in summer, by those who would preserve contented minds.
There are two bridges across the river: one belongs to the railroad, and the other, which is a very crazy affair, is the private property of some old lady in the neighbourhood, who levies tolls upon the townspeople. Crossing this bridge, on my way back, I saw a notice painted on the gate, cautioning all persons to drive slowly: under a penalty, if the offender were a white man, of five dollars; if a negro, fifteen stripes.
The same decay and gloom that overhang the way by which it is approached, hover above the town of Richmond. There are pretty villas and cheerful houses in its streets, and Nature smiles upon the country round; but jostling its handsome residences, like slavery itself going hand in hand with many lofty virtues, are deplorable tenements, fences unrepaired, walls crumbling into ruinous heaps. Hinting gloomily at things below the surface, these, and many other tokens of the same description, force themselves upon the notice, and are remembered with depressing influence, when livelier features are forgotten.
To those who are happily unaccustomed to them, the countenances in the streets and labouring-places, too, are shocking. All men who know that there are laws against instructing slaves, of which the pains and penalties greatly exceed in their amount the fines imposed on those who maim and torture them, must be prepared to find their faces very low in the scale of intellectual expression. But the darkness — not of skin, but mind — which meets the stranger’s eye at every turn; the brutalizing and blotting out of all fairer characters traced by Nature’s hand; immeasurably outdo his worst belief. That travelled creation of the great satirist’s brain, who fresh from living among horses, peered from a high casement down upon his own kind with trembling horror, was scarcely more repelled and daunted by the sight, than those who look upon some of these faces for the first time must surely be.
I left the last of them behind me in the person of a wretched drudge, who, after running to and fro all day till midnight, and moping in his stealthy winks of sleep upon the stairs betweenwhiles, was washing the dark passages at four o’clock in the morning; and went upon my way with a grateful heart that I was not doomed to live where slavery was, and had never had my senses blunted to its wrongs and horrors in a slave-rocked cradle.”
The above excerpt from American Notes by Charles Dickens is from the University of Adelaide online ebook library. To read the entire book click on the link below:
A trailer and gallery of photos are available below.
More Copy from the 2018 production:
More About A Christmas Carol
Click on the link below to find out more about A Christmas Carol throughout it’s history as published in the pages of the New York Times
Click on the link below to find out more about when A Christmas Carol was published– from History.
Click on the link below to find out more about A Christmas Carol — from the British Library.
Click on the link below to find out more about A Christmas Carol — from the Charles Dickens Page.
Click on the link below to see Dickens’ manuscript of A Christmas Carol — from the Morgan Library in New York City.
Click on the link below to read A Christmas Carol — from the Library of Congress.
Click on the link below to listen to A Christmas Carol — from the BBC School Radio.
Click on the link below to find out A Christmas Carol celebration at the Charles Dickens Museum– from the Charles Dickens Museum.