What would Charles Dickens make of the modern world, particularly the amenities and services for people with disabilities and the advent of socialized medicine?
Two things Canadians take for granted as basic human rights were unheard of back in the 1800s.
The power of Dickens work to still move a modern audience will be demonstrated Nov. 29 with a reading of Dickensâ€™ A Christmas Carol.
â€œSimply put, regardless of era, the human condition never changes. Charles Dickens depicted the struggle for human connection and happiness like few before or after him. In the characters of Fred, Bob, Tiny Tim and even miserable, lost Ebenezer Scrooge, we see a reflection of ourselves and we are given hope that their happy ending might one day be our own,â€ said Rose Hominick, one of the organizers.
She and her husband, Eric, have rounded up a team of people who will don period costuming and perform the show with proceeds from the dramatic reading going to the Langley Pos-Abilities Society, which advocates for the disabled in the community.
Seven readers will perform the show in a set festooned with seasonal decorations. The performers will be costumed in Dickens-era style.
â€œDressing up respects the story and the writer, honours the audience and attracts and commands their better attention and interest, and helps the performer better feel the part he or she is playing,â€ Eric commented. â€œClothes not only make the man, they elicit a better response from others and help the performer perform at a high level. And dressing in period costume better marries the reader with the words he or she is speaking, adding greater integrity and credibility to the narrative.â€
This is the second year in a row the production is being staged and the organizers have learned what works and what needed to be tweaked, such as moving to a venue with ample parking and one where street noise wonâ€™t interfere with the show.
â€œLast year the performers served the refreshments at intermission, which was a lovely way for the audience to meet them, to break down that artificial barrier between audience and performers, and stimulate relevant conversation. Plus it keeps things a little homey, which we like,â€ Eric added.
The Hominicks have enlisted helpers such as readers Terresa Tetar and Helen Wells. In addition to Hominick Studios, the Britannica Repertory Company and Redemption Hill Church, the show has received support with donations of food, help from the musical talent and more.
â€œThis year we have a team of helpers that is taking a vast load off our minds and backs,â€ Eric said.
The show gets underway at 7 p.m. at Willoughby Elementary School, 20766 80th Ave.
The gym can accommodate up to 400 people and there is child care that evening.
â€œAdmission is by donation, so it is extremely affordable,â€ Eric said.
The evening also includes seasonal music and carols (with the words printed in the program), and Dickensian treats of mince pies and cider.
â€œIt is top-notch, great quality material, written by a master storyteller, and delivered by practised voices in a convincing manner,â€ Eric commented. â€œWho can resist a good story? And this one is a humdinger.â€