#Throwback Thursday: A Christmas Carol

This week's #ThrowbackThursday focuses on a more recent ballet, A Christmas Carol. Based on the Charles Dickens novel of the same name, the ballet has become a Christmas classic.

The ballet begins with a short prologue showing the funeral of Jacob Marley, where the late man's business partner, Ebenezer Scrooge, is the solitary mourner. Act I opens on a busy London street on Christmas Eve; a group of carol singers are collecting money for the poor outside the counting house where Scrooge makes his money. They are joined by Scrooge's assistant, Bob Cratchit, but the reappearance of Scrooge brings the festivities to an abrupt halt. Even the arrival of Scrooge's nephew and his wife has no effect on the bitter old man. Having reluctantly let Cratchit go home for the night, Scrooge returns to his house, where he meets the terrifying ghost of Jacob Marley. Marley warns him that he will be condemned to endless torment unless he changes his selfish ways.

Act II begins with the Ghost of Christmas Past, who takes Scrooge back to another Christmas years ago. At the Christmas party of his first employers, his offer of marriage is refused by his first love, Belle, who tells him he loves money more than her. Scrooge becomes distressed as he realises he is powerless to change his mistake. He is comforted by the Ghost of Christmas Present, who takes him to the Cratchit household. The family is dirt poor, but happy in each other's company, and Scrooge is affected by Tiny Tim's Christmas song. The family move off with the Ghost and Scrooge cannot follow them, left alone with the phantoms.

Act III opens on the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, who takes Scrooge to see a future Christmas. The Cratchit family mourn the loss of their son, Tiny Tim, and Scrooge witnesses the crude auction of a dead man's possessions. When he sees the tombstone, he realises with horror he is watching his own funeral. He throws himself at the tombstone, which dissolves around him. He finds himself back on his own bed, determined to change his ways. He organises an enormous Christmas feast, at which the Cratchit family are the guests of honour. As the snow begins to fall, the entire street gathers in a celebration of Christmas spirit. Scrooge has been entirely transformed.

The ballet was created for the Northern Ballet by Christopher Gable, and still tours the UK on a regular basis. It even came to New Zealand a few years ago, when the Royal New Zealand Ballet mastered the work for a nationwide tour just before Christmas.

Thanks for reading!

- Selene

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