POST: 'Young Charles Dickens' - I made a pleasant mistake


What's it about?

The life of young Charles Dickens as he unexpectedly meets the people who will inspire his stories.

What'd I experience?

So many typos.....

I had completely missed reading the fact that this production was a "8 yrs to Adult" rated show. Imagine my surprise when I am given the playbill and in big black letters it states: “Children's Theatre.” I got a sense of deja vu and suddenly I remembered that this has happened to me before.

It was about two summers ago that my brother and I stumbled upon a production of Cinderella, but with a dragon slayer aesthetic to her. Once we got to Lincoln Center and collected our tickets at the booth, we were a bit confused by the large amount of children that were lined up at the theatre door, but we ignored it. We assumed it was probably just because it was fantasy related. As the show began we grew increasingly confused by the lack of dialogue, we just assumed it was a musical, but weirdly no one was singing. No one ever said anything for the entire 120 minutes. The entire show was just score - so, that was interesting. That show itself didn’t turn out to be bad at all, but I’d choose dialogue. 

The first thing that came to mind as I watched Young Charles Dickens was Disney. It was definitely a nice change from the dark themes I’m usually attracted to, but the show wasn’t as naive as I expected it would be. I know close to nothing about Charles Dickens. Thankfully, I think the fact that it was a geared toward a younger audience saved me the embarrassment of being confused.

That was also the same reason I was worried about the show, I assumed that because it's geared to a younger audience that the language would be... basic. Oh, and my biggest fear was that this would be some kind of call and response situation. It wasn't and I was pretty impressed at how mature the language was. The only thing that kind of embarrassed me, a bit, was the fact that I heard a 7 year old girl call out every character name that Dickens had based these real life people on - now I know, thanks Google. And that little person.

At the age of 13, Charles was forced to quit school and work at polishing factory in London, a massive contrast to the upper class lifestyle he had previously led. Given the fact that his aristocrat dad was arrested under some vague reason (keeping it vague for the kids I'm guessing) he is left to support his family and ‘offer’ his money to pay off his sister’s tuition. Not that he has a choice. It was really great seeing a production not censor the 'not so nice' parts of Dickens life, focusing on the fact that he worked hard to provide for his family, making him have to temporarily put his dreams on pause. 

Even though this isn’t the type of show I tend to go for, I made a pleasant mistake. I really enjoy when plays or musicals show all the gritty details of someones life, it highlights the importance that person's life has had on this planet. I like how it felt like ambition and dreams are encouraged to young ones. It reminded me of how much I miss the ease of dreaming big without being embarrassed. I guess I am just as capable as anyone to to work out my dreams if I’m resilient enough.


Want to see it?

$25 Tickets

Young Charles Dickens
Theatre 3
thru Jan. 3