It promises to be a feast for the senses — with all the sights and sounds, scents and flavours of a traditional Victorian Christmas.
Combining an engaging tale, live music, period costumes, the aroma of mulling cider and the taste of traditional mince pies — Langley’s Rose and Eric Hominick will endeavour to evoke in their audience a sense of 19th century England, as they give a dramatic reading of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol.
And the Langley couple is hoping that their performance will not only entertain audiences, but provide a little food for thought as well.
The Nov. 29 presentation at Willoughby Elementary will be the second the Hominicks have given in Langley since moving to the community in the summer of 2013.
Last December, prior to their reading at Sharon United Church, Rose Hominick noted that Dickens’ commentary on the disparity between the “haves” and “have-nots” remains relevant today.
“The more things change the more they stay the same,” she said.
“That was true in the 19th century and it’s certainly true in the 21st. You’d think we’d develop to the point where we’d have no more hungry and no more homeless,” she said.
“But we still have people who want and people who have so much.”
Once again, admission to the performance will be by donation, with proceeds going to charity. This year, the reading will benefit the Langley Pos-Abilities Society, which strives to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Joined by five other performers, the couple will read aloud from the same text that Dickens himself condensed from his novella and performed for 19th century audiences.
Last December, about 80 people gathered in the chapel at Sharon United Church to follow the fates of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim through the pages of Dickens’ tale.
This year, they’re hoping to draw more than 100, adding that inclement weather and (unfounded) concerns over parking likely kept a few people away from their 2013 Langley debut.
Helen Wells, a Langley actress who was among the performers at last year’s reading, will join the ensemble again this year for the fourth time.
It’s a natural fit for the Brit and self-proclaimed “Pearly Queen of Langley.”
“Being English, the opportunity to perform anything English attracts me. Anything of that (Victorian) era, I love,” she said.
“I relish the characters and the dramatic aspects of the story appeal to me.
“I think I teethed on Alastair Sim’s version version (1951’s Scrooge),” said Wells.
First-time reader Peter Vandenbosch was drawn into the fold by simple good manners, he joked.
During a dinner one evening at Vandenbosch’s home, Rose urged him to participate in this year’s performance.
“As a good host, I agreed,” he chuckled.
Although it will be his first time on stage, Vandenbosch has attended every performance the Hominicks have given in the Lower Mainland.
“He’s been steeped in Dickens for years,” said Rose.
“I’m a complete novice,” he replied.
Eric welcomes the opportunity to put on the annual productions for a number of reasons.
“The English major part of me who loved reading as a child is fascinated by the story and the writing,” he said.
“The performer in me loves the drama and relishes the meaty dialogue; my spirit is challenged by the universal truths about the human condition and responds to the possibility of reclamation and redemption; and the social and charitable aspects of an event such as this reap their own special benefits in my life, and hopefully in the lives of people we meet there.”
“A Dickens benefit not only benefits the official cause championed on the poster, it blesses all who attend,” said Eric.
“It is a splendid multi-sensory experience; a wondrous, family-friendly entertainment; a sermon-in-a-ghost-story; an exposing of the worst and celebration of the best in humanity; a social gathering with no barriers at all and a focus for hope, that rare commodity often lost to us in our technological age.”
“And where else can you go to hear a ripping great ghost story with a happy ending? How fantastic is that?!”
The reading — presented by Britannica Repertory Company, Hominick Music Studio and Redemption Hill Church — will also include short, seasonal musical interludes.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol — a dramatic reading in costume — takes place on Saturday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. at Willoughby Elementary School, 20766 80th Ave.
Admission is by donation, child care will be provided.