Dickens’ Christmas classic brought to life for children

Aaron Monaghan and Bryan Burroughs in A Christmas Carol.
Aaron Monaghan and Bryan Burroughs in A Christmas Carol.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“I’ve been obsessed with A Christmas Carol for years,” says actor Aaron Monaghan who brings his adaptation of Dickens’ classic Christmas tale to Druid’s Mick Lally Theatre this week. As a member of the Druid acting ensemble, Aaron is no stranger to the Mick Lally stage, but this production is different. It’s his own – a two-hander with his close friend, former flatmate and the hugely talented physical performer Bryan Burroughs. Even better, given the season that’s in it, this show is for children.

Aaron, who was most recently seen in The Second Violinist at the Galway International Arts Festival, is one of the most talented actors in Ireland, who brings a brilliant physical dimension to his work. It’s a skill he’s demonstrated with Druid through the years, in shows from The Cripple of Inishmaan to Waiting for Godot.

Originally from Cavan and a founder member of that county’s Livin’ Dred Theatre, he first adapted A Christmas Carol as a four-hander 10 years ago for Livin’ Dred.

As a child, Aaron was “Christmas’s biggest fan”, and while some of his youthful enthusiasm for the season has abated because “it can be a hard time for people”, he still loves “the brilliantly redemptive tale with the past, present and future ghosts and its dark elements as Scrooge deals with the possibility of his own death”. Aaron loved its “tone and texture” when he was a child and still does, even if adulthood has tempered his expectations of humanity.

“All the goodwill we have at Christmas time, if we could share that every day of the year,” he feels. “I love the build-up and the message to take and to keep Christmas cheer every day of the year.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.