A new play by Avril Silk and Martin Levinson
The Ghosts of Mr. Dickens portrays two incarnations of the writer struggling against one another – real and fictional versions of himself; the actual man and the man he wishes to survive beyond the grave. This production combines ensemble performance and digital projections to explore the final years of Charles Dickens, the characters he created, and the ones that created him. This project was made possible through the kind support of Arts Council England, Ashbrittle Arts, Ashbrittle Parish Council and the Jim Laker Fund.
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The year is 1867 and, aboard the SS Cuba, Charles Dickens set sail for his second tour of America. Despite the signs of his waning health, he has planned the most arduous of schedules.
During his journey across the Atlantic, the renowned author becomes plagued with guilt-ridden visions. Figures from his life – such as his parents, his wife, his companions and his children – appear alongside characters from his stories. These spirits return to guide (and taunt) him. They accompany him on the sea crossing and throughout his readings.
Though his health is failing and his mind troubled, his performances are inspiring. But he struggles to contain the creations of his fevered imagination. As reality blurs into fiction, much like Ebeneezer Scrooge, the author is compelled to revisit the sins of his past. But this is no tale of redemption.