CityView Magazine

November/December 2012

CityView Magazine - Fayetteville, NC

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arts Dickens Present J Charles Dickens' great-great grandson will perform "A Christmas Carol" in Fayetteville BY REBEKAH SANDERLIN Dickens Christmas festival. As always, carolers in Victorian dress will entertain the crowds, who will be also charmed by hot cider and the stunning candlelight processional. But this year, for the first time ever, Charles Dickens' great-great grandson will also be on hand to perform "A Christmas Car- ol". Gerald Charles Dickens, an actor, will bring his talents to Fayetteville — and bring his celebrated ancestor's work to life for the lucky audience. CityView interviewed Gerald Dickens to talk about his career and his pending visit to our city. ust as in years past, visitors to Downtown Fayetteville on the day aſter Thanksgiving will be transported back in time to the days of Charles Dickens during The Arts Council's annual A Q: What made you decide to become an actor and, specifi- cally, to become known for reading your great, great grand- father's works? A: Acting has been a great passion of mine — ever since I was cast at the age of 9 in a school nativity play. I had been a very shy, insecure child and suddenly I found an outlet where I could have fun and felt very much at home. Aſter that I tried to become involved in any form of theatre I could find, wheth- er school, community theatre or semi professional. As far as deciding to perform the works of my great-great grandfather, that came much later. In fact I had purposeful- ly decided not to be connected with Dickens in any way. In 1993 (the 150th anniversary of "A Christmas Carol") a friend who was also a fundraiser for a local charity, approached me and asked me to recreate one of the theatrical readings of "A Christmas Carol" that Charles had done. As a favor to her, I agreed. As soon as I started to work on the piece I realized how brilliantly theatrical Dickens's characters are — so great for an actor to perform. The show was well-received and I had loved doing it, so I began to research Dickens' theatrical aspect a little further. So my love of performing Charles' stories does not only stem from being a member of the Dickens family but also from a professional point of view: could an actor wish for a better scriptwriter! Q: You have said previously that Charles Dickens' stories, and "A Christmas Carol" in particular, seem to resonate with Americans even more than with Brits. Why do you think this is? A: I never cease to be amazed at the passion for "A Christmas Carol" in America. You are correct, I have said before that it resonates with Americans more than with the Brits, and that is not to say that it isn't popular in England: it is incredibly popular in the old country. However, in America it is on a dif- ferent level altogether. Of course, "A Christmas Carol" is set in an era when America was growing and developing, it is an era that people like to look back on fondly. As a country, America was like a young person ready to burst forth! We all like to be reminded of the best days of our childhood and in a way the scene and setting of the story does that. Also, however, in a modern world with so many confusing and difficult situations to be faced, "A Christmas Carol" is a very simple story of re- demption — anybody can change and we all need a reminder of that sometimes. Q: Is it a burden or a blessing to have the name "Gerald Charles Dickens"? Do you think people have greater expecta- tions of you because of your accomplished ancestor? | 31

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