‘Tis the Season for Charles Dickens
Dickens’ classic holiday ghost tale holds a special place in my heart.
My acting premiere in a big stage show was in a 1991 Community Players performance as Peter Cratchit in the Fred Fout directed A Christmas Carol at Old Main on Marshall University’s campus.
Just eight years later, in Norfolk at Virginia Stage Company, my Ghost of Christmas Future came face to face with Jerome Kilty’s Ebenezer Scrooge, a most memorable experience and a pretty incredible sign of how far theatre had taken me in a relatively short span of time.
Fast forward to 2017 and I found myself transporting my young son to nightly A Christmas Carol rehearsals of his own. He played Tiny Tim delightfully on a Marshall stage just a few blocks from where I made my debut twenty-six years prior.
More often than all of the above, though, I have been a reader or a spectator marveling at what I consider to be, quite possibly, the greatest story ever written. It’s a magical tale with an important universal message, one that will just as easily elicit tears as smiles. It is one in which the characters, conflict, and climax aim straight to the very heart and reason for the Christmas season.
Since the book’s instant success upon its original publication in 1843, it has been enjoyed time and time again, on the page and on the stage and beyond. Millions, perhaps billions, have been entertained and influenced by its moral. Be it one of many stage versions, a classic film reworking, or the book itself, A Christmas Carol resonates deeply inside so many of us.
This December I’ll endeavor to set some time aside to spend with the Charles Dickens classic. (I’ve already watched Bill Murray’s 1987 Scrooged adaptation - and before we even reached Thanksgiving, at that.) I’ll also set aside some time this month to think about what I have learned in my own past and present, and how that can positively influence my future.
You should, as well. I can think of no more timely message in 2021 than one that so enthusiastically endorses compassion and generosity, while also acknowledging that even a flawed or fractured past and/or present can be renewed, refocused, reshaped into a remarkable future.
A Christmas Carol is available at ACTC’s Library. In fact, you can read it entirely online here: https://libproxy.kctcs.edu/Ashland?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e000xna&AN=313923&site=ehost-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_1
Happy holidays and God bless us, everyone!
A three-time First Among Peers Teaching Excellence Award winner, Jonathan Joy has taught at ACTC for 11 years. He currently serves as Associate Professor of English/Writing for the college. Writing credits include 50 plays, 150 children’s stories, and dozens of attempts at poetry. Joy’s Read Me A Bedtime Story column for the Ashland Beacon won a 2020 Kentucky Press Association award. The children’s stories therein are also featured on the Professor Theo's Mystery Lab podcast (ProfessorTheo.com). Joy lives in Huntington with his wife, son, and dog.