Last year I mentioned that a play about the writing of The Life of Our Lord was in development. The other day, Gary Colledge, who's serving as consultant, wrote to give me an update on the project.
The title of the play is To Begin With. It's being written by Jeffrey Hatcher and produced by Dennis Babcock. And Gerald Dickens, who has spent so much time portraying his ancestor in one-man shows and who participated in several staged readings of this play in London, will star in the U.S. production. They hope to open in Minneapolis, "perhaps as early as February 2015."
Below is a short synopsis from a draft of a brochure that Gary sent:
"The taunter is a scraggly, smelly twelve year old boy, one Algernon Charles Swinburne, perched atop a graveyard wall. The target of his tirade: Charles Dickens, author, journalist, would-be thespian, and summer neighbor of Swinburne’s parents on the Isle of Wight. This unpleasant encounter between two giants of world literature— one in middle age, the other yet to write the verses that would make his name— spur Dickens to write a tale quite unlike his usual fiction.
"To Begin With is the story of his two-year struggle to create a personal adaptation of the Gospels, written to be performed for his children on Christmas Eve 1849. As he wrestles with the text and how to best present it to a brood that ranges from 2 to 10 years of age, he is distracted by his anxieties for them, and by his reflections on the society in which they will live."
Many thanks to Gary Colledge for the exciting news! I'll pass along more information as he sends it.