Here is a 30-minute version of Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' intended to be read by a single-narrator--with optional pre-recorded musical accompaniment. I offer full cast versions of the "Carol" for radio and stage, but have seen requests for a smaller, more intimate rendering of the tale. Charles Dickens was an actor before he was a writer and he often performed excerpts from his novels to theater audiences in Britain and America. I've taken Dickens' own 'reading Carol' from 1867 and trimmed it down from 3 hours to 30-minutes long. However, this version is not just a telling of the story--with lots of narration and occasional dialogue. It is more a dramatized "Carol" to be performed by a single-storyteller--much the way audiobook narrator Jim Dale brought the Harry Potter books to life. You don't need to be a gifted mimic to render the sour Scrooge or meek Bob Cratchit, but this script makes it easy to assume one voice and then switch to another since the radio-script format lends itself to clear reading off the page in a live performance.
For information regarding how to obtain the script, contact me at . I deliver the script via e-mail as a PDF file, and the optional pre-recorded music cues can downloaded as MP3 files.
'A Christmas Carol' is Tony "Sparx" Palermo's very faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic story of Christmas, memory, and redemption. The dialogue is verbatim Dickens, but condensed and arranged to bring forward Dickens' themes of charity and goodwill toward men. This shortened version includes the famous scenes of the Charity Seekers, Marley’s Ghost, the three Spirits, Fezziwig's Ball, Belle, the Cratchit family, the graveyard, the prize turkey and Scrooge's final surprise for Bob Cratchit. However, it omits several scenes entirely NO teenage Scrooge and his sister Fan, neither of Nephew Fred’s parties, no mention of the Children—Ignorance & Want, no Rag & Bone shop, and no mocking businessmen. In 30 minutes, the story still holds up as an emotional experience. This version also employs (optional) music but doesn’t require any sound effects. Instead, they are described by the narrator, the way Dickens’ handled them in his original story.
Here's a downloadable MP3 clip of a famous scene, with one actor doing all the voices--accompanied by music and sound effects:
Detailed information about how I've approached this adaptation. While the notes are intended for full-cast productions, I suggest solo narrators read over them to understand the themes running through the story.
Additionally, I offer pre-recorded orchestral music tracks—20+ minutes worth. These 22 tracks are not required to do the show, but they cover scene transitions and underscore the drama. They are NOT Broadway-style musical songs. Instead, the tracks function the way 1940s movie music does—supporting the drama by playing underneath the narrator and some dialogue. In scoring 'A Christmas Carol', other than my own ghost and suspense music, I adapted old Victorian carols. I used less well-known carols, to avoid cliché or sentimentality, without sacrificing the authentic characteristics that period music could lend to the story. The carols reinforce emotional and structural connections in the drama.
For example; Belle's Theme ("The Coventry Carol") is played by a music box--a gift from Scrooge--that winds down as the dialogue details their crumbling relationship.
The instrumentation is strictly Victorian: brass choir, pipe and reed organs, hand bells, church bells, chimes, cymbals, timpani, fiddle, concertina, music-box, “glass harmonica,” choirs and strings. This authentic musical underscoring adds greatly to the production.
The 20+ minutes of music tracks are available as downloadable MP3 files.