Charles Dickens is alive and well, and still haunting artist Ben Whiting
It’s the time of year when the holidays are upon us and traditions re-emerge. One of the most enduring is revisiting Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Written in 1843, it's inspired thousands of adaptations since then in an endless cultural fascination with the holiday story that is more relevant today than ever.
Writer Joe Beyer says one such version coming up in northern Michigan has him excited because of the passion of the project’s creator, Ben Whiting.
Whiting’s enthusiasm is based on the oratories that Dickens himself shared when he traveled the world and performed his own abridged fireside version for audiences over 120 times in his life.
“He would invite them to feel these emotions and give expressions to them. Cheer, laugh, cry, whatever you want to without any fear of disturbing him,” Whiting says. “Dickens would tell them, ‘there's nothing I can enjoy more than knowing that you are going on the journey with me.’ And so I’m asking too. I’m asking the audience to engage with their imagination. And I don’t think personally there's anything we can create on a stage that can compete with that.”