The Gospel in Dickens
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April 26, 2010

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Oliver Twist just appeared in Pittsburgh! Our local "CLO" performed 9 shows of Oliver at Pittsburgh's Benedum Center, just a block away from the site of the now-torn down "Exchange Hotel" where Charles Dickens and his wife reportedly stayed when they visited Pittsburgh in 1842. Not to brag or anything, but my 9-year-old daughter auditioned for and was chosen to sing and dance among the "workhouse boys" in the production. I happen to be reading Oliver Twist just now as I slowly make my way through the complete works in chronological order. I just read an amazing passage: Oliver has just been kidnapped from Mr. Brownlow's. You may recall that at the time he is nabbed he is carrying some books and a five pound note on an errand for Mr. Brownlow. Oliver pleads with his captors to return the books and the money to Mr. Brownlow, they can keep him his whole life long, but please, o please, return Mr. Brownlow's possession to him else he should think that I have stolen them: "He'll think I stole them; the old lady; all of them who were so kind to me: will think I stole them. Oh, do have mercy upon me, and send them back!" To which Fagin replies: "The boy's right . . . You're right, Oliver, you're right; they WILL think you have stolen 'em. Ha! Ha! . . . it couldn't have happened better, if we had chosen our time." Here is Oliver, nobly pleading, openly and honestly revealing his true and tender heart; and there is Fagin, squashing that tender heart as if he were stepping on an ant on the sidewalk. This juxtaposition of Oliver's nobility and Fagin's baseness is brilliant and altogether heart-rending!

How exciting for you and your daughter!!

Yes, it was very exciting and gratifying. Of course, my daughter was disappointed she did not picked as one of "Fagin's boys"...It's always something with theater people...:D

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