Wednesday, November 25, 2015

AM~Erica Enjoys the Dickens Out of the Evening

So anyway...

It's been a while since I've shared anything here. It's been just that crazy!

And there were so many things I wanted to talk about:

* I wanted to share about how our Halloween went.
Today is not that day.

* I wanted to share about our hometown Royals winning it all!
Today is not that day.

* I wanted to share about how I didn't make the parade.
Today is not that day.

* I wanted to share about our decorating for Christmas.
Today is not that day.

Instead, I want to jump ahead to something that I'm so glad we got to take in. No, it's not yet Thanksgiving, and there are only very few things tied to Christmas I'm willing to do ahead of time.

One of the things is decorating. We do get a large part of our decorating up before Thanksgiving. We have people over that day, so we like to be festive. Plus, it allows us to enjoy the sights, within our walls, a little bit longer.

Another thing is taking in the Enchanted Forest/Festival of Trees. This has been shifted around for years, now. My mom & I (and eventually Teen Girl) have taken in almost every year of it since its inception. Starting at Longview Farms, it shifted to Union Station, then quite recently to the Overland Park Convention Center to be a part of the Holiday Boutique. The weekends have shifted around in the past 20+ years, but we've attended all but two of the years. We even decorated trees on two of the years...
...then this year changed. Marillac was no longer sponsoring the trees. So we figured it wouldn't take place. To our shock, the Festival of Trees would still be part of the Holiday Boutique, just taken over by a different organization. And it took place on yet another weekend. My point is that we take in the trees BEFORE Thanksgiving. As for our experience of this most recent outing...
Today is not that day.

There's several Christmas tree lighting ceremonies that happen a week or so before Thanksgiving, too. We tried to take in one of those events a few years ago. We weren't overly impressed.

Then...something different came up. It was something we needed to take in right now if we were going to do it. I came across an opportunity to kick off the Christmas season in an interesting way. And since it was a traveling event, it was now or never!

This particular event was a one-man-show. A storytelling event by a man who was retelling a very popular Christmas tale. It's the tale where the term "Merry Christmas" is used and made it's way into the present commonplace as a greeting highly popular & cultural greeting of choice.

Sir Patrick Stewart does a one-man show of this, even after appearing as Ebenezer Scrooge in one of the many, many film adaptations of it. Our own KC Repertory Theater (aka - The Rep) puts on a stage version every year around this time.

Yes, the beloved story is of "A Christmas Carol." The story of the turning of the heart in Mr. Scrooge during an early Victorian Christmas setting, as told by a now-iconic, and world-renowned storytelling novelist, Charles Dickens. (or as referred to in Raul Dahl's 'Matilda' - "Darles Chickens")

We watch different film adaptations every year on our TV. My hubby has even preached on it for Advent! So what made me get excited about this opportunity to hear this story, yet again, trying to catch this traveling one-man-show of a story we can catch so many times throughout the season?

I was watching the morning news, like I do, on Monday morning. I had gotten the boys off to school, and it was time for me to finish enjoying my coffee before getting ready for the day. Something caught my attention for one of the segments! First, it was theatrical. Uh...Hello? Theater totally speaks to me, if you didn't already know. (This shouldn't shock anyone.) Plus, this distinguished looking gentleman was on my screen. Maybe he seemed distinguished since he looked all proper-like in his very Victorian suit costume. But as the information was pouring from the TV set, I was listening with amazement about the guy who was to do this one-man-show of "A Christmas Carol!"

His name is Gerald Dickens.

Is it a name that sounds familiar? Well it should. Especially when tied to the story he was telling. See, Gerald has some lineage to the author. The one-man-show of the beloved Christmas tale would be performed by the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens!

Our Mid-Continent Libraries were awesome enough to host this gig. He performed in a few places, but it would the be performance on the following night that would be best worked for us. If we could go...of course.

After looking at our schedules, and seeing we could afford to go (it was FREE, people!), and running it by the kiddos (2 of the 3 children were stoked to go), we got ourselves together to head to the performance.

Most of our family are into theater. There's me (of course), my hubby, Teen Girl (it's kind of her passion), and Teen Boy (who just finished a stint as Lt. Brannigan & the voice of Joey Biltmore in his high school production of "Guys and Dolls"). Lil Guy, though filled with so much talent, hasn't quite built his love for theater just yet. He enjoys some, but not his first choice to jump on if the opportunity arises. We're working on him.
With that said, my hubby definitely saw it as an interesting opportunity. My teenagers about came unglued when they found out who was doing the storytelling of THIS story! The youngest swore he didn't want to go, but we informed him he had no choice.

When we got to the venue, there were several folks already there. There was coffee & hot chocolate with cookies being served at the back. We found seats & then took turns to get some toasty refreshment before things got started.

At exactly 7:00 PM, the very beginning of Transiberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve Sarajevo" began to play (I know this song very well - I choreographed a dance to it, of course) and a man slowly made his way onto the stage; as the music is supposed to change to a strong tone, a bell toll came instead, prompting the gentleman to stop center stage to begin the telling of the tale.

There's a setting of a leather-looking wingback chair, a coatrack, and a stool. Each of these things are used throughout Gerald's flowing between each character. You always know which character he becomes in any given moment! He has his own little narratives in there, too. I love the little additions from the storyteller's point of view.

Not taken from the performance we attended, but a photo of Gerald Dickens
in the midst of his storytelling.

Again, not from the show we attended, but more in his storytelling mode.

Once in a while, I look on either side of me. I want my family to not regret me nearly forcing them into another weird idea of mine. As I look, I see my hubby (who is often critical of performance) smiling & fully enjoying it; both of my teenagers seem riveted & into it (even if Teen Girl couldn't TOTALLY stay off her phone - ugh); then I check out Lil Guy who seems completely tuned out & disinterested. Once in a while he will laugh at really fun & wonderfully silly parts, but just didn't seem to grasp the whole thing. Ah well...he'll remember back to this years down the road. I'm sure of it!

With some fun additions in the acting, and some fun audience interaction, we joined in the well-deserved standing ovation given to Mr. Dickens as he wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

As we left, there was ne'er a negative word spoken about the evening! My hubby gave glowing reviews (which is very difficult to get from him, by the way), my teenagers were enthralled with what they got to witness, and then there was Lil Guy. He's the one who wasn't so into it. Right? But then he said, "I know it didn't seem like I was really paying attention, but he was really good! And he was funny."


I thoroughly enjoyed it! And what an awesome way to begin the season! A bit of Dickens' storytelling. Take that as you will.

And, if you ever get the chance to see Gerald do his one-man-show of his great-great grandfather's storytelling - I am highly encouraging you to do so! You will NOT be disappointed!

One of these days, I'd love to be able to catch him doing "Here Comes Dickens!" I'd love to hear him bring a little of each of the author's novels to life!

Now with that said, it's onto our holiday madness. But glad we got a touching way to begin it.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica


UPDATE:  After sharing this post upon Twitter, Mr. Gerald Dickens gave his approval (YAY!) and shared with me HIS blog post of the day including the performance in which we attended. So, I'll share with you. The link to his post, HERE.

UPDATE 2.O:  As I wanted to keep up on the tales of Gerald Dickens during his stay in KC, I took a moment to read his next blog post about his reception that we didn't get to make. Imagine my shock in reading this entry! You might understand why when you read it, HERE!

No comments :

Post a Comment