Who’s Who: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future
By Mike Butler
When the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future walked into my apartment to be interviewed, it got really TENSE! These fascinating apparitions have been making appearances on stage, television, film, and in literature for over a hundred years and it’s been very difficult to get them all in the same room to interview, but I finally did it. Let’s get into the holiday spirit of things, and learn more about three of the most famous ghosts in history!
Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843, and the story of miserable and greedy Ebenezer Scrooge, who hates Christmas, is familiar to everyone. In the story, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns Scrooge about changing his ways before he meets a terrible fate. Scrooge is then visited by our three ghosts, each representing a different stage in Scrooge’s life.
Let’s start with, appropriately, the Ghost of Christmas Past. I don’t enjoy reflecting on the past, but it’s nice to revisit the time that lead to these moments of the present, reflecting on what we’ve accomplished and maybe, just maybe, how we could have done something different.
What is really special about this ghost is that Dickens does not use gender pronouns to describe the Ghost of Christmas Past. He refers to the ghost as “it.” This spirit, when interviewed, was quite congenial and loved representing what has past. To this ghost, “reflection is such an interesting part of our lives because we can learn and develop and see our mistakes and strengths.”
I was fortunate to play the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past (see photo) in a Scrooge Fezziwig show a few years back and we chatted about how this ghost sets the mood for Scrooge’s early days leading to his shift in personality.
When asked about their role, the Ghost of Christmas Present says, “I love my role in the story as more people connect with me than the others. This emphasis on focusing on the present, living in the moment, and being aware of what’s happening right now is so important. Make this time of year about friends and family and helping others instead of selfish ways. It’s an easy philosophy!” And I couldn’t agree more.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, or the Ghost of the Future, is the last ghost to visit Scrooge, and doesn’t speak. This ghost offered no comment or advice for my future, except to stay the same and all will be well. I’ll take it!
This Christmas, with family or friends, why not partake in one of the many versions of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. You can choose from Patrick Stewart, Alistair Sim, Reginald Owen, Albert Finney, Mickey Mouse, The Muppets, and even Jim Carrey, as they offer the true value and meaning of this season.
You can see NEW depictions of these three celebrated spirits in the new Mother Goose Muddle, Fezziwig’s 2019 production coming to Wolfville December 20-21 at the Festival Theatre. Don’t miss it! Remember how much fun the PAST Fezziwig shows were? Grab some tickets ASAP (what a nice PRESENT), and then when the show happens in the FUTURE, you’ll thank me! In the SPIRIT of this Who’s Who, Happy Holidays everyone!