Charles Dickens Unleashed

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Charles Dickens Unleashed

Charles Dickens Unleashed.jpg

Theater The Hideout Theatre
Directed by
Cast Varied
Crew Varied
Initial Run Nov/Dec 2009
Subsequent Run(s) Nov/Dec 2011

Charles Dickens Unleashed was a longform narrative show inspired by the works of Charles Dickens.


The show was a narrated longform, in the style of one of the earlier Dickens novels like Oliver Twist. The narrator was looking back on his early life, and following it through the sort of ups and downs one often saw in Dickens novels.

The production included a Victorian-London set design from Kaci Beeler, Dickensian costumes, and soundtrack cues with appropriate music from the era.

Show Structure

The show opened with the cast all entering the theater and taking a tableau onstage over music. The last to arrive would be the narrator, who would welcome the audience to the theater, perhaps warm them up, and then ask for an occupation that someone might have in Victorian times. After this, the lights would go down, and the narrator would take a seat in the stage-left thrust at a table with an old lamp and a book. This was the book the narrator ostensibly was writing as he narrated; in actuality, it served as a place for the narrator to take notes on the developing action.

After this, the story would open with a single scene begun in medias res, usually dramatic, and usually vague. After this, the narrator would narrate the opening of the "novel", almost always recounting the character's earliest childhood. Performers would begin playing out what was narrated, and the story would progress through a checkered childhood and pass on into early adulthood.

At about the two-thirds mark, the narrator would introduce some significant passage of time in the story. Then, the narrator would take the stage, and replace the protagonist -- implying that the narrator was now playing the "grown-up" version of him- or herself. From that point on, the narrator was the protagonist of the show, though the narrator could still step out of a scene to provide narration.

At the end of the story, the onstage characters would again freeze into a tableau, and the narrator would step out to provide the closing lines of the "novel".


The show format was first tested out in The 40-Hour Improv Marathon on 6/27/09, for an audience of one (Mike Kinald).

The show then ran in the 2009 November/December holiday season, and was brought back for a second mainstage run in 2011. That second run was so successful that, in December, the Hideout added 6pm shows every Saturday. The show also had Christmas performances in its "off" years (2010, 2012), and was part of The 43-Hour Improv Marathon.

On 11/17/11, cast members Curtis Luciani, Kaci Beeler, and Peter Rogers appeared on KUT's Eklektikos to promote the show.

Cast and Crew

2009 Run



2011 Run







More Information