To view this site, you need to have Flash Player 9.0.115 or later installed. Click here to get the latest Flash player.
(NECN: Lauren Collins, Nashua, NH) - It is one of the most well known works of fiction. “It's the epitome of Christmas to me,” says Alan Beauchamp of Bedford, Massachusetts. “It wouldn't be Christmas without reading ‘A Christmas Carol.’” Its picture of a dark Victorian city lit by carolers defines the holiday season and over the centuries that it's been read and told, Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" never gets old. “The funny thing about ‘A Christmas Carol' is that it's actually more popular in America than in England,” says UNH English Professor James Krasner, versed in Dickensian literature. “And I think that's because it deals with this anxiety we have about materialism at Christmas.” In a one man rendition performed in Nashua, New Hampshire Thursday, Charles Dickens great-great grandson brings 26 characters to life. “At the heart of it, it's just a very simple story and it's a story about hope. Hope for whatever you are, whatever you do,” says Gerald Charles Dickens. Through the voices of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Crotchet, Tiny Tim, and the ghosts of Christmas, Dickens realizes how much modern life mimics his ancestor's vision of the holiday. “We all have a bit of Scrooge in us,” he notes. “Especially on the last few days running up to Christmas when you're still battling through the malls trying to get those last gift. Oh, we all have Scrooge in us. Krasner agrees. He says the story maintains, and perhaps even grows in popularity because it addresses the moral themes and questions we struggle with every year. But at the same time, it reminds us of what we value. “The person who's not wiling to buy anything at Christmas is horrible. He's a Scrooge,” he says, “we all worry about that and so it's a great answer to that problem.” When “A Christmas Carol” was first published in 1843 it was an instant, rare success largely because so many people could identify with the characters. It was the right story for the times. And today, “with the hard times that everyone's having, it is a story about hard times, and having hard times,” says Jody Gage of Fortin & Gage Gifts which sponsored Thursday’s shows. Everyone in the audience knows and loves "A Chrsitmas Carol," and each has a reason why they seek out the story every year. For Beauchamp, “if you peel back all the hallmark and all the controversy of hanging Merry Christmas signs and so on and so forth, it's the essence of what Christmas is.” Lill Marks, who brought her daughters to the show, likes “the old fashioned values that would be nice if they would come back again.” The story is “very topical with the economy the way it is,” says Dickens. The greed, the desire to take money off of others: Scrooge is a money lender, charging massive rates of interest and everybody else is suffering at his hand, yes it does, it resonates big time.” And while we may strive, especially this year, to cherish the thrift of the Crotchet family (“as little as they have, they're still incredibly happy,” notes Krasner), Krasner says Dickens gives us permission in Scrooge's transformation: “Don't be puritanical. It's not moral to save too much. Being a little crazy, being a little irresponsible is really the moral thing to do.” Crazy, like a man who spins about in glee on Christmas morning and gives us hope when he makes an unlikely friend in a little boy.