You know you've really achieved it as a writer when the name of one of your characters enters the English lexicon, becoming a byword for some very real behavior.
Such is the case for Charles Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge, who for more than a century has become synonymous with selfishness and misery in the classic story, “A Christmas Carol.” While it's not as good as say, “Die Hard,” with its lessons of love, good cheer and the single-handed taking-down of a building full of bad guys without using shoes, people just can't seem to get enough watching a penny-pinching curmudgeon learn the importance of the holiday season with the help of three eccentrically personified spooks.
A story told so many times it has incorporated the likes of talking ducks, Muppets and Bill Murray, Dickens' work still manages to successfully extol the virtues of compassion and charity as well as the never-ending prospect of personal redemption.
Clearly not consulting with one another on whose turn it was to take on the Christmas classic, theater companies across the Richmond area are scheduled to present a number of stage adaptations through the holiday season (four and counting).
For those looking for a more cinematic experience there's also the recently released film adaptation starring Jim Carrey. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, it uses that fancy digital 3-D and motion-captured CGI. With plenty of holiday humbugging to go around, make a point to see at least two versions of the “Carol” this winter to generate some fun comparison discussions among friends and family. — Mike Hilleary
Theatre IV's “A Christmas Carol” plays the Empire Theatre on Dec. 4-20. Tickets $22. For information, go to theatreivrichmond.org or call 344-8040.
Randolph-Macon College's version of “A Christmas Carol” plays the Cobb Theatre Dec. 4-10. Information at www.rmc.edu or 752-7316.
Richmond Triangle Players' play within a play, “Scrooge in Rouge,” runs at the Theatre Gym in the Empire Theatre from Nov. 18-Dec. 12. Tickets $20-$25. For more, rtriangle.org.
Richmond Shakespeare's budget-conscious “A Christmas Carol for Two Actors” hits the Gottwald Playhouse at Richmond CenterStage, Dec. 7-21 For more, richmondshakespeare.com