File puptcrit/puptcrit.0909, message 105


To: <puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org>
Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2009 08:10:10 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Questions about "A Christmas Carol"


Having produced a version of "A Christmas Carol," and played Scrooge for 
several years, I can tell you that the most important moment in the story 
occurs when he wakes up from his ordeal with the spirits.  I credit the 
great actor Patrick Stewart for pointing this out - there's an interview of 
him explaining this on video somewhere.

The problem is that most people play Scrooge as a just a mean old cheap 
heartless guy.  But the truth is, he's a man in pain, who's learned to deal 
with it by pushing aside his own emotions, and his various emotional 
relationships.  Read the book and maybe you'll get a sense of this. 
Therefore, when he wakes up and discovers that he's not dead, he goes 
through a cathartic change.  Yes, even in a show for children, can this be 
dramatized.  He shouldn't just wake up and jump into some merry dance.  He's 
got to first expell all his unhappiness and let himself breathe in new life.

As Mr. Stewart explained, it's been so long that Ebeneezer Scrooge laughed, 
let alone smiled, that it's actually hard for him to do.  So first, he 
actually cries, and then the cries turn to laughter.  Then he gets silly.

I took this direction and the conscious understanding of Scrooge's pain, and 
you know what?  Even though I was playing Scrooge with a marionette, when I 
came to that final transformation, I actually choked up & tears welled up in 
my eyes.

There are so many adaptations of "A Christmas Carol."  So many emphasize one 
quality at the expense of the others.  (My favorite is the Mr. Magoo 
version.)  But there's nothing like studying the original by Dickens 
himself.  Second to that would be Stewart's one person performance of the 
book - not the cheap tv movie that he starred in.

Robert Rogers 

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