Friday, 3 December 2010

God Blessed Us, Every One: John D Huston's Performance of "A Christmas Carol"


John D Huston was at StB last night to deliver his A Christmas Carol one man show; a delightfully rich and detailed performance by a first class actor—a man well steeped in his trade. A member of the Meti nation of Saskatchewan, John has had a lively career “culturally misappropriating the works and identities of dead white guys” in Canada and the UK. He has played Tommy Douglas in Saskatchewan, Shakespeare in the UK and Dickens across Canada. He has performed A Christmas Carol since 1992. Last night's performance was his 444th. 

John continues a tradition begun by Dickens himself who began public performances of his classic tale in 1853 as charitable fundraisers, but they soon became a lucrative second career. Of the twenty works he prepared for performance, A Christmas Carol was his most popular: he performed it throughout the year in a series of tours lasting until his death in 1870. The text was cut drastically over time from a three hour marathon to a sixty minute one-act designed to fill half of a double bill. Last night’s performance is a transition between these two versions. Dickens’ address to the audiences at his first readings says it best: “I would ask that you imagine you are with a small group of friends assembled to hear a tale told.” And we heard it very well told, indeed. 

We were also blessed by a roast beef dinner and choral music by Ralph Browne's Selah Singers. A wonderful evening. God, indeed, blessed us, every one.