© 2010, Richard Linley.

Melodrama and fantasy in two acts. Running time: About 2 hours.

charles_dickens_a_christmas_carol_poster_194x300The Industrial Revolution has brought riches to some in London, but left much of the population destitute. Ebenezer Scrooge is among the fortunate few, but he has allowed his pursuit of wealth to eclipse all thoughts of tenderness for the rest of humanity. Scrooge does not discriminate: He hates everyone equally, and sees Christmas (“Humbug!”) as an excuse for his poor clerk, Bob Cratchet, to do him out of a day’s earnings once a year for no work done. Then, on Christmas Eve in 1843, Scrooge is paid a visit by the ghost of his long-dead partner, Jacob Marley. Marley is determined to save the terrified Scrooge from himself, and sets about doing so with the help of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet To Come. Sure to delight young and old alike!

This stage version of Dickens’ much-adored novella was written for a small theatre with a working curtain. The scenes alternate between exterior and interior, with some action making use of the stage apron and the theatre’s aisles. A mixed cast of twenty or so, with ages ranging from about 7 to 70, can cover the dozens of identified characters in the play, though the actors playing old Scrooge and Bob Cratchit are best restricted to those parts alone. An early decision in the creation of this play was that, while not a musical, it should be accompanied by musical underscoring in the style of old melodramas.

Character List

In order of appearance:

Sarah
Thomas
Grandfather (Sarah’s father)
Children of Sarah and Thomas (eldest to youngest):
Catherine (sixteen)
Robert (fourteen)
Alice (twelve)
Ruth (nine)
Simon (seven)
Londoners, circa 1843*
Ebenezer Scrooge
Bob Cratchit
First Solicitor
Second Solicitor
Fred, Scrooge’s nephew
Child carollers*
Charwoman
Marley’s Ghost
The Ghost of Christmas Past
Townspeople, circa 1790*
Fanshawe, the book seller*
Mrs. Abbotsford, the barrister’s wife*
Mrs. Cavendish, the sweets seller*
Scrooge, as a young child
Scrooge, as a young man
Fezziwig
Dick Wilkins
Fiddler*
Fezziwig’s guests, circa 1800*
Mrs. Fezziwig*
Belle, Fezziwig’s niece
Jacob Marley, as a young man
The Ghost of Christmas Present
Church-going Londoners*
Grocer
Brewer
Mrs. Cratchit
Children of the Cratchits (eldest to youngest):
Martha (sixteen)
Peter (fourteen)
Belinda (twelve)
Esther (nine)
Tim (seven)
Vicar
First Neighbour
Second Neighbour
Third Neighbour
Topper
Abigail, Fred’s sister-in-law
Mary, Fred’s wife
Clara
Edward
Ignorance*
Want*
The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come
First Market Vendor
Second Market Vendor
Third Market Vendor
Children in Joe’s shop*
Joe
Laundress
Undertaker
First Businessman
Second Businessman
Third Businessman
Boy

*Indicates non-speaking parts.