Remy Bumppo Artistic Director Nick Sandys is bringing a 20-year project to fruition this holiday season, as he takes to the Greenhouse Theater Center upstairs mainstage in his own adaptation of The Chimes, the holiday story Charles Dickens wrote the year after penning A Christmas Carol.
In 1993, Sandys wrote an adaptation of The Chimes for six or eight actors. In the new version, he will be playing all 17 characters, including Dickens' himself, as "the voice that wrote the story."
"It's the first book for which Dickens did public readings," says Sandys. "Originally, it went for three hours, because he read the whole book." Dickens eventually trimmed his own version considerably, to about the 90-minute length Sandys will present, but in the process the author cut most of the social commentary for which he is famed, Sandys leaves that in, because :"It's important that modern audiences see the world of Dickens, including the ignorance, blindness and poverty."
The title of The Chimes is taken from the 19th-century ringing of church bells not only to celebrate the new year, but to toll the passage of time for Londoners every day. While dealing more with New Year's than Christmas, The Chimes is like A Christmas Carol,in that it is a story of redemption, and it shares with It's A Wonderful Life the theme of discovering the worth of one's life.