“I think of this adaptation and the production of A Christmas Carol as a masque. It is not a musical comedy. The songs do not move the story forward; they stand apart, completely separate from the text. Each song or carol was chosen for the dramatic atmosphere it contributes to the total experience. The songs are traditional but John Bennett’s scoring is contemporary and exquisitely beautiful.
The language and the story of the text are faithful to Dickens. I have taken one major liberty. The original novella was published in 1843. I have moved the time forward forty years to 1886. By this time the secular English Christmas customs were fairly well established as we know them today. By 1886 the German Christmas Tree had become an English form. We also found that the costume silhouettes from the 1880’s were more attractive and created more readily a ‘Dickens Christmas look,’ not unlike those found in the paintings of Currier and Ives.
True to masque form, the entire production is presentational. It unashamedly takes advantage of live theatre. The characters are larger than life could ever be. The sets and costumes were faithfully drawn from reality, and then, fancifully carried past reality. I think Inigo Jones would have been delighted.
The Caravan production has been complimented repeatedly by those saying that the show looks, ‘like Christmas Cards,’ ‘like Christmas should be,’ ‘like Christmas in your mind when you were a child.’ The credit for this wizardry must go to my colleague, James Othuse, whose talent as a designer can frequently make dreams come true.”