Every year for decades my family and friends have gathered at my home for one of my favorite Christmas traditions, a reading of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.
This year our Dickensian evening was a bit different, we brought the victorian classic to the internet age. We gathered across time zones and miles via zoom.
Here are tips on how to have your very own Zoom “A Christmas Carol” party.
STAYING ON THE SAME PAGE!
Download the PDF of “A Christmas Carol” above. This is Dickens’ full story not the script of the play. It takes place in five chapters called “Staves”. It helps if everyone is using the same text because it is easier to follow along. Our party had some attendees using their own copies and they do fine. But they had to pay attention to where we were in the story if they had glanced away to fill their glass or let the dog out.
HAVE A MODERATOR OR DIRECTOR IN PLACE.
Have a host in charge that can keep the event moving.
They need to be able to:
- Stay for the entire story.
- Be familiar with zoom so that they can mute and unmute as needed.
- Keep an eye open for Admitting late comers into the meeting.
- Reassign parts on the fly at the start of each Stave.
Break between staves if needed. This will also give you a moment to chat about something or grab a snack. Let participants know that they can take breaks as needed to tend to things that come up and to turn off their video so it doesn’t distract from the reading.
Cast list download above. Here is the list of speaking parts in each stave. Assign the parts to participants before hand and you’ll have the most fun. People will stay on because they know they are needed for the “performance.” On the PDF above next to each character in parentheses is the page number cue. Again, this is helpful if everyone is using the same text of the story.
Things to keep in mind when casting:
- Narrators should love to read out loud. Try to cast strong readers for the narrator and Scrooge. Strong readers will relax everyone else.
- Share the Scrooge and Narrator parts. Assign someone new for each stave or alternate.
- The 4th Stave features cockney accents. These can be fun but long and tedious unless the readers are nimble.
- The Spirit of Christmas Future has no lines. Don’t assign to someone who likes to speak.
- I reserve the part of Jacob Marley every year. Assign to an enthusiastic over actor!
If you want to see these characters performed beautifully watch the 1951 film version starring Alastair Sim. Watch the trailer and find out where you can watch here.
Host a Zoom Reading of “A Christmas Carol”Tweet