Director’s Notes for Developing this Story

A carol is a religious folk song or popular hymn, particularly one associated with Christmas; to go caroling is to go singing, particularly Christmas songs. Some songs are beautiful, while others are deeply disturbing, and still others are simple silly fun.

While Christmas is a Christian holiday that was created in the Middle Ages, it was a feast intended to replace celebrations associated with the Winter Solstice. It’s a party! Wealthier medieval Christian kings gave out gifts (as they did at most big feasts of the year). The Christmas tree and many other contemporary symbols of Christmas are are taken from older, non-Christian religious systems.

Charles Dickens’ wonderful novel, A Christmas Carol, is not at all the first Christmas ghost story. For example, another great class is the medieval Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

This play is loosely based upon the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. In fact, many of the characters’ names have been changed, to note just how loose this adaptation truly is. Charles Dickens wrote a wonderful ghost story full of Victorian Christian ethos and humanism. This play, however, is ANOTHER ghost story, ANOTHER Christmas Carol, set in 21st-century United States (Northeast Ohio, even), attempting embrace an ethos that recognizes diversity, equity, and inclusion. It attempts to embrace, for example, the Articles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as developed by founding members of the United Nations.

Thus, several of the characters are intended to be flexible in identity: ethnicity, nationality, religion, race, gender, sexuality, (dis)abilities, and so forth. I tried to make their identities flexible, allowing actors and directors as much room for creative freedom, as much as possible.

However, there are some restrictions to character development, for two central reasons: 1) for the purposes of plot development, and 2) to allow for the development of a discussion of social issues that is significantly broader than that presented by Charles Dickens.

This play is intended to be a joint Deaf/hearing production (again, in the spirit of inclusiveness). This merging of communication and linguistic methods poses a challenge, one that can be reduced to light and sound. The merging is a challenge: it can be a battle (between the speakers and the signers) for stage attention, or (and this is the goal) it can be a lovely composition, an orchestration of entertainment of the visual with the audio. The intended audience is both hearing and Deaf: those who are signing-impaired will be able to follow the play through the speakers’ performance and those who are hearing-impaired will be able to follow the play through the signers’ performance.

Everyone has a voice, be it signed or spoken. It might be best to think of the speakers as performing something akin to a radio play, while the signers are performing something akin to a dance. Speakers can also provide additional sound effects (with their throats and mouths, but also with various types of musical instruments and other tools). Signers can also provide additional visual effects (such as with led-gloves and flags or streamers, but also with dance and pantomime).

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