Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol
version 1.0, 12/00
This is an act of almost pure hubris on my part. A Christmas Carol is a timeless work of genius. It's infinite flexibility and resilience is apparent in every adaptation, good, bad or indifferent (I remember vividly the year it became public domain when I was a child; there was a different version of A Christmas Carol on every TV network every night for a week -- A Southern Christmas Carol, A California Christmas Carol, A New York Christmas Carol, etc.).
You can't kill it. It's too good a story.
It's also remarkably easy to dramatize. Part of it is that Dickens wrote good dialog. Part of it is that the tale has become an icon. Scrooge is one of the most recognizable characters ever created.
This version strips out the lion's share of the description from the text, leaving the kernel of the dialog (much of which will seem familiar). It's broken into scenes, some short, some long.
My initial idea in doing this was for use with a large class group. The class could break into small groups and each group could then select one section to dramatize. If you want to take it all the way to presentation using the whole class, have each character assigned a specific costume piece and let the children pass it from group to group as the characters progress.
Needless to say, there are several excellent adaptations of the story. The definitive version, of course, is the 1951 Alastair Sim movie. Patrick Stewart's 1999 television movie version is the most faithful to the original material and is magnificent (not to mention ruthlessly accurate in portraying London in the mid-1800's). On the lighter side, I've always loved Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, and I have to confess that I have a soft spot for Scrooged starring Bill Murray (the internal version of the overproduced Christmas Carol TV special with Buddy Hackett as Scrooge and Kathy Lee Rigby as Tiny Tim is proof positive that the story is unbreakable).
Here is your path to the particular parts of the story (it's remarkable how little is actually needed to do the beginning, middle and the end):
|1.1 "A Merry Christmas, Uncle"
||1.2 A Solicitation for the Poor
||1.3 The Shop closes on Christmas Eve
||1.4 Marley's Ghost Calls
The Ghost of Christmas Past
|2.1 The Ghost of Christmas Past Arrives
||2.2 Scrooge's Boyhood
||2.3 Christmas at Fezziwig's
The Second of the Three Spirits
|3.1 "You Have Never Seen My Like!"
||3.2 Christmas Day at the Cratchits
||3.3 Christmas Day Abroad
||3.4 Christmas Day at Freddie's
|3.5 Christmas Present Departs
The Last of the Spirits
|4.1 Men of Business
||4.3 Stark Visions
Back to the Cratchits
The End of It!
|5.1 "The Turkey As Big As Me?"
||5.3 Boxing Day