You’ve never seen “A Christmas Carol” like this before. Charles Dickens Christmas classic was originally performed by one person – Charles Dickens. He played all the characters, using different voices for Tiny Tim, Scrooge, Marley and the other ghosts. Dane Allred (Drama teacher at Payson High School) will perform from the same script used by Dickens, and present two free showings of this one-man show at the Provo Tabernacle on December 18th and 19th. Starting at 7:00 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights, the presentation will also include traditional Christmas music.
As a Christmas present to the community, Allred says he is excited to perform at the tabernacle. “I did this show last year for a DVD, and on the radio, but to be able to perform in the tabernacle is a treat,” he said. “Dickens performed his condensed version hundreds of times to raise money for hospitals, fraternal organizations and other groups. The poster I’m using is based on one of his performances at St. Martin’s Hall in Long Acre on April 15th, 1869. This was just a year before he died, and the script is shortened to just over an hour. He performed that night as a benefit for a hospital. I want to give back to this community which has been so good to me. We really live in a great place, and this is one way I can give something back.”
Using all of his vocal range, Allred will perform more than 20 voices, letting the audience use their imaginations to create their own versions of Charles Dickens classic characters. “Our imaginations are much more creative than we know,” said Allred. “Even with advanced animation and creative special effects, I think the characters we develop in our minds are always more detailed. Then when we see what we imagined created by someone else, there is always some disappointment. Our versions were much better!”
When asked his favorite characters, Allred laughs and replies, “They are all so fun. I like Bob Cratchit’s wife, since she has such great wrath for Scrooge. I also like doing the voices of the ghosts, but they are hard on my voice. I think two nights might be all I can do.”
“Another challenge has been the facial hair,” continued Allred. “I teach part-time at Brigham Young University and growing the beard required me to get a permission letter sent to the standards office. My hair is also getting quite long, and I do get some interesting looks when I am on campus.”
Dane Allred has been in past productions of “A Christmas Carol”, previously playing the narrator. “I had about thirty half-page monologues, “he said. “It’s not a huge leap from doing the narrator to including the characters. The wonderful thing about a one-person performance is you get everything without scene changes, blocking, choreography or any other distractions. You just hear the story.”
Allred explained music interludes will separate the staves. “Charles Dickens even thought of the story as a musical piece, calling the chapters “Staves”, like a music staff,” said Allred. “We’ll have short musical pieces between the four staves of the piece.”
The performance is open to all ages, and will begin each night at 7:00 p.m. The performance is sponsored by the Springcreek South Stake. For more information call (801) 636-0725.