November 27 - December 21, 1991

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Martin Kinch

About the Play

On December 17, 1843, Dickens' contemporaries were very prompt and perceptive in proclaiming the outstanding merits of A Christmas Carol. Critics even predicted that the story would be read and enjoyed "a hundred years hence". W.K. Thackeray's eloquent praise was typical of when he wrote, "It seems to me a national benefit and to every man and woman who reads it, a personal kindness."

According to G.K. Chesterton, Dickens was "a mythologist rather than a novelist: he was the last of the mythologist, and perhaps the greatest" Dickens mastery holds us in thrall so we never question Scrooge's transformation anymore than we would the changing of the beast into a prince in fairy tales.

Despite its popularity Dickens was disappointed in his initial income from A Christmas Carol. The first publication of A Christmas Carol was so lavishly produced that even though it sold out and was reprinted — 12,500 copies sold within five months his initial profit was short of his expectations and needs. His income was suffering from the disappointing sales of "Martin Chuzzlewit".

It was typical of Dickens that his financial problems were a spur to his muse. If he wasn't tending to the needs of his own family — a wife and ten children plus his sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth Dickens was bailing his father out of debtor's prison. Which may explain, in part, why Dickens was incredibly prolific as a journalist, magazine editor, playwright, theatre producer and public speaker. Despite his playwrighting abilities, Dickens didn't dramatize A Christmas Carol. Over the past 148 years, many other people have adapted, for film and stage, his story of Scrooge's journey of self-discovery.

Theatre Calgary's presentation this year is a collaboration between Executive Producer Brian Rintoul as director and Martin Kinch as adapter. The emphasis in interpretation is on the magical, joyful and mythical tale of the visits of the spirits which lead to Scrooge's transformation.

In Dickens' time, ghost stories were part of the Christmas tradition. He intended this ghost story to be a tale about conversion. Scrooge starts out as the enemy and ends up much like the Fairy Godfather in a Pantomime, another English Christmas tradition that also uses  magic and the supematural.

Dickens affected the way Englishmen and others felt about Christmas. Henry Cole was inventing the Christmas Card in the same year that A Christmas Carol was published. As was often the case, Dickens was voicing as well as helping to create the sentiments of his fellow-countrymen.

A Christmas Carol changed the way in which Englishmen and others viewed Christmas. For many of us, it remains to this day, one of the great traditions of Christmas.

Cast & Creative Team
For A Christmas Carol

  • James Brewer
    Beggar, Fezziwig Guest, The Ghost of Christmas Present, Old Joe
  • David Brindle
    Charles Dickens
  • Shawna Lori Burnett
    The Ghost of Christmas Past, Martha Cratchit, Poor Woman
  • Roman Danylo
    Tom, Dick Wilkins
  • George Dawson
    Jacob Marley, Fezziwig Guest, The Ghost of Christmas Future
  • Helen Farmer
    Missy, Fan, Fezziwig Guest
  • Chris Humphreys
    Fred, Fezziwig Guest, Sir Giles Overby, Liverwart
  • Rebecca Inch
    Poor Girl, School Boy, Mary Cratchit
  • Heather Lea MacCallum
    Poor Woman, Fezziwig's Maid, Melissa, Laundress
  • Michelle Cecille Martin
    Miss Frint, Belle, Victoria
  • Nate Martin
    Toby, George Worthmore, Fezziwig Guest, Peter Cratchit
  • Jared Morrison
    Bob, Young Ebenezer, Fezziwig Guest, Tiny Tim
  • Jeffrey Nieckar
    John, School Boy, Fezziwig Guest, John Cratchit
  • Declan O'Reilly
    Poor Boy, Ebenezer, Richard, Grub
  • Bruce Parkhouse
    Mr. Ramsgate, Mr. Fezziwig, Topper, Brassington
  • More Cast & Crew