Charles Dickens: “A Christmas Carol” – a great play in Schwangau”

On the morning of December 7th, a collection of year 10 students (the two English classes 10a and 10m and their teachers) attended a theatre adaptation of the classic Christmas tale “A Christmas Carol” in the “Schloßbrauhaus” in Schwangau. The story – written by Charles Dickens and first published in 1843 – is set in London on Christmas Eve and follows the life of a bitter, old man, called Scrooge, his hatred for Christmas and his journey of self-discovery and compassion. This particular adaptation featured no more than a handful of actors, and the small cast performed enthusiastically. Although the tale is close to two hundred years old, the conflicts and themes it covers are just as important now as they were in the 1800s.

The primary events in the story are: Scrooge, proving to be an unsympathetic, ego-centric, miserly grouch who exploits his work force and insults the people around him, receives a paranormal message form an old, long-deceased work partner warning him of an impending reckoning; and three visits from spirits force him to rethink his unfair persona (the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come).

“A Christmas Carol” conveys incredibly important themes, including compassion and forgiveness. Scrooge feels hard done by after the cruel events the world has thrust upon him and chooses to blame the world for everything that has gone wrong rather than reflect and take responsibility. Because of his mentality he shows zero compassion to everyone around him, including his own family. The ghosts force Scrooge to see things for how they really are, rather than how he has learnt to see them. Afterwards he is overwhelmed with compassion and guilt and desperately seeks forgiveness.

Another important theme in “A Christmas Carol”, and perhaps the most important one relating to today’s society – is equality, especially equality between members of different social classes. Scrooge believes that the poor people of London are lazy and dirty and that he would remain indifferent if they all died. By the end of the story his perception has changed and he understands that those living on the streets are no worse than him, just because they do not have money and that in fact the only difference between him and them is that he was given more opportunity to succeed in his upbringing.

To conclude, “A Christmas Carol” is as important as it is amusing, as it covers an array of themes and issues. Many of these aspects tend to be forgotten or grazed over during the holiday season when the focus is switched to presents and an abundance of festive foods. While we gorge ourselves on seemingly never-ending feasts and participate in our favourite Christmas traditions while listening to cheesy music, families with next to nothing struggle to survive through the most freezing time of the year. The story was written generations ago, but still remains a timeless classic and this theatre adaptation by the American Drama Group Europe certainly did the narrative justice!

Michelle McAulay, 10m
Bild: American Drama Group