A Christmas Carol at Christ Waterloo

Call for Actors and Crew for A Christmas Carol

Richard Walsh, Christ Church Waterloo

On December 7th-9th @ 7:30 pm Christ Lutheran Church Waterloo will present my adaptation of Charles Dickens’s 1843 brief novel A Christmas Carol [ACC]. In recent years Christ Church, located at 445 Anndale Rd. on the corner of Lexington and Davenport, has staged four theatrical productions that I’ve adapted and directed that address morally and socially challenging issues: Antigone by Sophocles in 2012, Merry Wives of Windsor by Shakespeare in 2013, Don Juan in Hell by Shaw in 2014, and An Enemy of the People by Ibsen in 2016.

At first glance, ACC is a story of Scrooge’s personal ghosts; in fact, it’s subtitled A Ghost Story for Christmas. Beginning with Marley’s Ghost, who represents both his own and Scrooge’s notorious greed, each ghost compels Scrooge to face his social transgressions of the past, the present, and the foreseeable future. But the ghosts also give him opportunities to redeem himself. Ghosts, of course, are fun for audiences (but not for young children, who can be easily overwhelmed), which is why adaptations of ACC for the theatre and film tend to stress them.

From a religious perspective, however, ACC is actually a story of conversion and personal liberation from the chains of greed toward the freedom of compassion and generosity. Dickens’s annual public readings of ACC evidently contributed to reinvigorating a historically earlier spirit of charitable giving during Christmastime that had been eclipsed during his lifetime.

From a social-justice perspective, ACC is a critique of involuntary poverty. Dickens wrote his story at a time of hideous socio-economic conditions in Britain and colonial Ireland that included child labour and massive, toxic smog. In effect, his message to the powers-that-be was: Attend to the plight of the poor or face a social and political revolt on home ground.

In my adaptation of ACC, over 99% of the script consists of Dickens’s text, although I’ve abbreviated it substantially to heighten its appeal for a current audience. In addition, rather than ignoring Scrooge’s psychological development, as film and theatre versions have done, I’ve included the scenes of Scrooge as a child, adolescent, young man, and middle-aged adult to elicit  empathy, even compassion, for him.

Here’s how you can help:

[1] Please refer anyone you know – child, teen, young adult, and middle-aged or older folks – who might want to play a character (there are over 40 of them) or help backstage. Email me here: rwalsh@wlu.ca. I’ll then send interested individuals the script and audition those whose acting skills are unknown to me. Rehearsals begin Sept. 6th.

[2] Please come see the show, and bring every kid you know, including adult ones. By the end of November you’ll be able to order tickets from Christ Church by phone.

Thank you very much for your interest and anticipated support.