In just a few days, I’ll be doing something that I’ve been wanting to do for several years now.
Every year, at our Christmas party, I read a little bit of ‘A Christmas Carol’, by Charles Dickens. As the years have gone by, and the kids have gotten more numerous, and louder, these readings have grown shorter, harder to hear, and more sparsely populated, as many of the parents have gone home by then.
I’ve wanted to do a more complete reading, and, gradually, the idea began to grow of an adults-only, complete, unabridged reading. When Mr. Dickens himself did readings of this book, he did an abridged version, for the sake of time. But in abridging it, he left out what I think are some of the better parts. Certainly the funnier and funner parts.
I’ve been somewhat reluctant to mention this on here, because I had to pick a smallish guest list, and there were other people who I didn’t invite, and wish that I could have. So I suppose I wanted to keep it a secret so that those folks would not feel like they were excluded. I’m sorry I couldn’t invite more of you.
But as the event approaches, I’m getting pretty pumped up about it. It’s going to run somewhere between 2 and 3 hours, I expect, although I’m not really sure. I’ll be serving Smoking Bishop, as well as a few other snacks that I’ve whipped up for the occasion. I was going to try to do dishes from the book, but time, ability, and budget conspired against me, and I’m just making pumpkin pies and apple pies. And maybe some cookies – I haven’t decided yet. I wanted to make a figgy pudding, but then I looked at the recipe. You start with about 8 pounds of stuff, including figs and sugar and brandy and … lots of other stuff. It was a bit intimidating. Maybe next year.
I’ve been working on this since about February, during which time I’ve read the book probably 6 or 8 times. I was working on a glossary, so that my listeners don’t interrupt me to ask why the boy calls Scrooge “Walker” when asked to go get the turkey, or why Scrooge’s name is “good upon ‘Change.” That ended up being about 35 pages. Oy.
If you’ve only experienced the book through the various movies out there, even the best ones (probably either Patrick Stewart or George C Scott, IMHO) leave out very important parts. This is, probably, because they tend to follow the abridged version that Mr. Dickens read from, rather than the full unabridged version.
Anyways, I’ll let you know how it goes. There’s been a threat to videotape it, but I’m not particularly thrilled about that. We’ll see.