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AVG goes Charles Dickens: ’’A Christmas Carol“

On a freezing Wednesday Dec 5th morning – in the midst of, well, almost winter – the entire AVG grades 9 to 11 headed down to Burghausen town hall to see Charles Dickens‘ “A Christmas Carol“ – 228 (two hundred and twenty-eight indeed) pupils and 4 merry teachers in all. Sadly some were seen to be making little detours to local bakery shops and grocery stores along the way to sufficiently supply themselves with food that would hopefully help them endure the ordeal. However, the experience of watching a play in the original version turned out to be much less of an ordeal than they had probably thought, even if the odd spoken word on stage was maybe lost to some of them.

The play is based on the world-famous and still most popular prose story by Charles Dickens, first published in 1843. It is commonly seen as heavily criticizing 19th century industrial capitalism. It was brought to the Burghausen stage by the American Drama Group Europe.

Protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge is a sour, grumpy old man and a most miserly of merchants. He is unwilling to show any kindness to other people at any time, not even on Christmas Eve. In due time he is visited – if not haunted – by a number of ghosts who show him the past, the present and the future of his life. It turns out that Scrooge is a doomed man if he refuses to change. The grim revelations make him question his way of life and his attitude towards other people.

Eventually Scrooge changes completely: heartless, cold, greedy and selfish – he becomes a “much improved“, a generous and a kind man. He buys a Christmas tree and a turkey for his impoverished accountant Cratchit and his family and also raises Cratchit’s pay, and he celebrates Christmas  – a festive day he had formerly dismissed as “humbug!“ – with family and friends, thus creating a wonderful Christmas for everyone, including himself.

We feel that the actors have done a great job in making 19th century characters and their worries appealing and credible to a young 21st century audience. They made us both weep (in places) and laugh out loud (in many places), too, and there was some brilliant live music and singing of traditional English Christmas carols (hence the name!). We are almost certain that most of us felt that it was a pleasure watching the American drama group perform the play and we would highly recommend you all to read or watch ’’A Christmas Carol“.

Sarah Sextl, Melanie Zimmermann (Q11)