‘The Very Dickens’ at LNT


Arts / Feb. 17, 2011 12:19pm EST


Actor Neil Flint Worden is Charles Dickens in "The Very Dickens" at Lost Nation Theater's Winterfest, February 17-20. (Provided)Actor Neil Flint Worden is Charles Dickens in "The Very Dickens" at Lost Nation Theater's Winterfest, February 17-20. (Provided)“The Very Dickens” by Gaen Murphree, starring actor Neil Flint Worden performing scenes from “David Copperfield” and “Nicolas Nickleby,” will go onstage at the Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier February 17-20.

Crowds gathered in high anticipation. Individuals jostled for position. Everyone wanted to be first, no one wanted to be last! The next book installment was due at any moment. Plots were discussed and argued over. People checked their watches, stood on their toes see. The wait was agonizing. This could have been the scene at any number of Harry Potter book release events. However this crowd gathered over a century ago to be the first to receive the next installment of Charles Dickens’ latest book.

Almost all of Dickens’ books were printed in serial form. When installments would sail from England, crowds would be waiting at the docks to get their hands on the next section—not unlike the recent midnight Harry Potter book releases. Charles Dickens was an extremely successful author. His works have never been out of print and at least 180 movie and television productions have been based on his works. Dozens of Dickens festivals take place each year.

Dickens visited America twice. His reading tours were sensations, with his one-man show of readings and life observations generating huge crowds and publicity. Reports from the time have Dickens thronged by mobs of fans wherever he went. Like appearances by today’s rock and movie stars, tickets to his readings were hotly sought after. Overflow crowds would stand near open windows outside of sold-out theaters and halls.

It has been 143 years since his last visit, but Lost Nation Theater is bringing Dickens back to the stage. From February 17-20, Neil Flint Worden presents his one-man recreation of the Dickens experience. He embodies Dickens’ style, temperament, and humor as he performs selections from “David Copperfield” and “Nicholas Nickleby” and embodies an entire cast of characters. Worden, who recently appeared with Olympia Dukakis in “Another Side of the Island,” has toured extensively.

Curtain time is 7:30 p.m., Thursday–Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. For tickets, call Lost Nation Theater at 802-229-0492, or visit www.lostnationtheater.org.

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