“If they (the Poor) are going to die, they’d better do it and decrease the surplus population.”
– Ebeneezer Scrooge
The literary figure of Scrooge is the epitome of greed and selfishness. When Dickens first wrote A Christmas Carol, it was an experiment in creating a “secular conversion story.” Dickens had become fascinated by the notion of religious conversion, but not being a religious man, wanted to tell a story of redemption that was inherently un-religious.
All good conversion stories start with a terrible person in desperate need of a change…
And he did a remarkably good job of creating a terrible person in Scrooge: greedy, cruel, manipulative and controlling, miserly, misanthropic, entirely bereft of compassion…
A textbook sociopath…
One of the things I love about the story is the way that the Spirits use Scrooge’s own words against him. In their own, disarming and direct way, almost every word of Scrooge’s dialog in the first scene of the play is repeated back to him by the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present.
His discomfort at his own words signals the change that is working in Scrooge, almost from the outset of the story.
“He was a tight-fisted, hand-at-the-grindstone, Scrooge; A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner; Hard and sharp as flint; Secret and self-contained; as solitary as an oyster. The cold within him iced his office in the summer heat and did not thaw it one degree at Christmas.”
– Charles Dickens
Darren Chilton delivers in a way that I could scarcely imagine possible. His beautifully emotive and whimsical portrayal will have our audiences on the edge of their seats. His expressiveness keeps him at the center of the entire show. His presence and gravitas pervades the entire cast and inspires us to dig deep and bring every once of passion to the stage.
Darren is the anchor that Scrooge must be.
And when Scrooge is redeemed, his life made right and his sense of wonder restored, you won’t be able to contain your own excitement and enthusiasm.