From stage to screen: the origins of A Dublin Christmas Carol
A Dublin Christmas Carol hasn't come from nowhere. Sure there is the book from Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, but before even a Dublin Christmas Carol had it first draft, The Order of Malta played host to this evergreen story.
In 2018 and 2019, at the beginning of December, a staged production of A Christmas Carol, set in Victorian England, raised vital funds for the Order of Malta's Knights Run. It would warm the souls of the sold-out audiences during both runs. Scrooge was played by Kevin Flanagan, who also brought the idea for the staged interpretation of the legendary story to life.
"Sometimes you have hold onto the seat of your pants," says Kevin when describing the experience of producing the story. Kevin had three disparate thoughts running through his head as he planned the initial 2018 production. He had the experience of being involved in a street theatre production of A Christmas Carol in 2017, and was looking to produce his own version. He also wanted to help Dublin's Homeless, which he was already doing as a volunteer for The Knights Run. And in December 2018 all three facets were able to gel together.
This was the first time Kevin had produced his own stage showing of Dickens' classic. One of the challenges was what was the backdrop going to look like. Kevin hit gold at an early production meeting in the Hall of the Order of Malta when speaking to designer Abe Unman: "He came up and showed me this unbelievable piece of film on his computer. You were suddenly in Victorian London!"
"Abe had cleverly used some of the background scenes from computer games. So we had 3D animated projections for all the different scenes. It was incredible, and turned the show into a sort of London stage production. People who came along were blown away and I had no idea that was going to happen."
"People constantly said to us after the show "Wow that was amazing. More importantly they said the story reminded them of what Christmas was really all about."
Kevin believes that Christmas for many had become this obscene juggernaut of capitalism, "to actually go back to the story of a man changing his soul and suddenly caring about poor people was fantastic - people were moved to tears."
During its first year in 2018, the production raised €4,500 for the Order of Malta and the Knights Run programme, which provides essentials such as sanitary wear, wipes, underwear, food, clothes and medical attention for those that live out on the street." Returning for a second year was a natural step.
Kevin said that most people can back for the second year. "With much of the work done to get the show out and to an audience, the second year had the challenge of matching the standard that was expected thanks to a talent of our dedicated team.
While 2020 may not make a third run possible of the stage stage, the production's legacy enters it next chapter with A Dublin Christmas Carol - The Movie! More on this in our next post