Tuesday, November 22, 2016

AM~Erica Had a Dickens of an Evening: Round 2

So anyway...

Last year, I discovered an incredible opportunity for the family to take part in. I was thrilled to be able to take in 'A Christmas Carol' one-man show as performed by, Gerald Dickens (the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens). IT WAS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE!

I knew it had to be good when even the youngest (who I thought had tuned out) was talking about how good the performance was, and that Gerald was funny!

We get talking about holidays pretty early around here. When we talked about stuff to do to enjoy the fall & Christmas seasons, I remembered Gerald. I did a quick search to see if he might be returning this year. As it turned out, he WAS! YAY! So, we talked to the kids to see if it was something they wanted to do again. They were all in! So, on an early September day, I was signing up the family to go see Gerald Dickens for a second year in a row.

Well, tonight was that night. I got ready to go in some 50's style Christmasy attire. I thought about wearing some of my Victorian-inspired/steampunk type costuming, but I backed off this time. The rest of the family was ready to go. And off we went!

The parking lot was already pretty full. But we found a decent spot & worked our way in. We surveyed the room & decided to find our seats before taking in the refreshments set up in the back of the John Knox Pavilion.

On the way to find seats, I realized Captain Jack of Captain Jack's Steampunk Irregulars was in attendance! (He was at our AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk in October!) We greeted each other, as I think I may have looked familiar - even if I wasn't in a tutu.

During the Out of the Darkness walk for AFSP of KC

Then I got thinking that maybe I should have costumed myself a bit more Victorian.
Hmmm...maybe another time.

After we found some seats a little closer to the back, but still in the middle aisle, we sent the kids to the long line awaiting refreshment. My hubby & I were discussing the surroundings. One thing we realized was that we were sitting in nearly the same spot as last year. Interesting.

In the distance, I noticed my high school speech coach was there in attendance quite a bit closer to the stage than where we were camped out, so I couldn't get over to him. (Hi, Mr. Martin! *WAVES*) And we were enjoying the background sounds of the live Dickens-style choir being quite entertaining. The kids were still in the long line, so I approached them to have them just fix up some hot chocolate for their parents - OK, I asked for a hot chocolate/coffee combo.

Waiting on our refreshment from the kiddos before the show

The wonderful carolers before the show

Settled & waiting for the show to start!

The kids made it back with refreshment in the most adorable cups! We may need to find some...

Even though either the hot chocolate or the coffee was incredibly watered down, I still took in the drink while we waited for the performance to start.

One of the hosts approached the stage to give us a rundown of some housekeeping items, and then the official introduction of Gerald! YAY!

The familiar start of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's 'Christmas Eve Sarajevo' started as people were slowly taking their seats. C'mon, people! The show's starting!

After the performance last year, I went & found a copy of 'A Christmas Carol' to read again. It had been too many years! Not only was the purchase inspired by the performance, but I began to ponder the 1st spirit. I needed to know how that ghost was originally depicted!
I found that out, got to read the fully manuscript, see some wonderful illustrations, and was enlightened, once again, to the wonderful story.

The performance went on delightfully. Even with the extra talking, phone notifications going on (c'mon - who set their alarm to go off at the beginning of the show?) & some ringing, people just getting up & wandering around at odd times. Or how about the bus that showed up about 5 minutes before the show ended to pick up some of the older folks? They couldn't stay until the end?

Even with the extra distractions, Gerald, once again, gave an amazing telling of his great-great grandfather's storytelling! Again, every character was distinct, the energy was outstanding, and the emotions & expressions were fantastic! We were amazed by how flawless the show seemed to move, even with all the distractions. We are a theater family, so we understand the difficulty to keep things moving when you worked so hard to put it together, and others are attending, but paying no attention. We get it! We were embarrassed FOR the offenders. They really had no idea what they were there to witness!

Last year, there was no announcement of any meet & greet - so we left. Tonight was different. There would be a meet & greet afterward! There were souvenir programs being sold to have signed, but I had something different in mind: if he was going to sign things this time, I was bringing the book!

After a well-deserved standing ovation, we made our way to the back to decide if we were sticking around or not. After some himming & hawwing, we decided to get in line. It was just my daughter & I. The boys wanted no part of the line or the crowd.

While we stood there, and after some sweet geriatric parades went through the line to get to where they needed to be, Gerald made his way back out, slightly refreshed from surely a draining performance. He was kind enough to leave his beautiful costuming on. Probably for those of us who wanted photos, too.

As the line moved, my daughter & I were approached by a lady in front of us wanting to know if we'd take a group picture of the few in front of us. We were kind & agreed. She then started looking at my book & became greatly envious of it! She snatched it from my hand & demanded to know where I found it! Apparently I'm a "stinkpot" for finding the book a year ago & having the foresight to get it. Then another gal from the group asked if we'd also take a pic of just her with Gerald. Somehow I became the photographer for a group of folks I didn't even know.

It was time for the group to approach the table, and I prepared to take their set of photos as they had about 8 copies of 'A Christmas Carol' to have autographed.

In this time, my sons decided to join my daughter & me in line - they now wanted to meet the man, too. My hubby still wanted no part of it, even though he's thoroughly impressed with Mr. Dickens.

Finally the group posed with Gerald, and I snapped a couple of shots for the group; then I snapped a couple of shots with the one lady who wanted her own personal documentation.

Now, we were up!

We greeted a smiling Gerald, who was quite personable, and I handed my book to him.

He seemed genuinely delighted by it. He flipped through the golden-trimmed pages & noted it seemed to be a facsimile of the original manuscript. He even found some of the illustrations & pointed out how each one was originally colored by hand in that time.

The book cover was then opened at the front, and flipped to the title page. Ah! The autograph went right there, and was even dated!

We wanted a photo with him, too, of course. My daughter grabbed a guy close by to see if he'd be so kind to take a pic or two. Apparently there was a designated picture-taker, but she kept roaming when a photo was needed.
The kiddos & I gathered around the other side of the table with Gerald Dickens & put on our best smiles. Even the boys! They usually duck & try to stay out of photos. This is a BIG deal!

I thanked him for blogging. It's interesting to get the performer's point of view with each show. And I wondered what he was thinking of this crowd as he performed. He seemed surprised I read his blog, and then thanked me. I let him know I blogged about his performance last year, too. He seemed to remember! We went on our way as he bid us an aidue with, "See you next year!"

He was wonderful & generous with his time. A great moment for the kiddos, too.

We then headed home. Again, we beamed about the show! Although, my hubby had a hard time getting into it fully only due to the extra distractions, but we were all still thoroughly entertained!

Also, we might have to make this a tradition. I hope so. Even though it's free to the crowd, this is a wonderful event to attend! Seriously!

So, we are home, and this "stinkpot" plans on placing our signed copy of 'A Christmas Carol' prominently upon our shelves with our other decor in our first Christmas at our Believe Inn.

A great way to begin our Christmas season! You should think about taking it in, too.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica