hatlogo Great Stories Alive !
      "Performance with Passion & Purpose"

PO Box 11045 - Portland, OR 97211 - (503) 335-3876 - GreatStoriesAlive.com


FOR RELEASE ON:  Monday, November 26, 2007

Media Contacts:

Al LePage, Performer, Great Stories Alive! / 503-335-3876

Bob Hart, Director, Lane County Historical Society & Museum / (541) 682-4242

"A Christmas Carol Solo" 1856 Victorian Style!

Time travel with living history character "Englishman Thomas Hutchinson, Amateur Thespian"
 To “Eugene City"
as he presents the timeless holiday classic of personal transformation and charity
bookA dramatic reading performance of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" will be presented in the style of the Victorian era to benefit the Lane County Historical Society and Museum in Eugene, Oregon.  Al LePage, who has portrayed various characters of Pacific Northwest history over the years, will star as "Englishman Thomas Hutchinson, Amateur Thespian" complete with English accent, clothing of the period and other accoutrements.  The event takes place on Thursday, December 20th at 7PM at the Eugene Garden Club at 1645 High Street and doors open at 6:30PM.  Admission is $8 per person which will be collected at the door with all proceeds going to the Lane County Historical Society and Museum.  The evening program is expected to be about 2 hours in length and is best appreciated both by adults and children 8 years of age and older.

“History and Christmas,” begins Bob Hart, director of the Lane County Historical Society and Museum,”now that reminds me of a story!  A story in fact that could have been told when Eugene Skinner himself lived and worked here.  A simple but great story, too,  from the pen of Charles Dickens himself.  And, Al LePage will literally bring both local history and the story of 'A Christmas Carol' to life when he transports you back to the Oregon Territory in the year 1856!”     

portfoliotwoLePage's mission of both "playing to -- and with -- audience members to bring history alive" will quickly become evident when you first encounter him before the performance.  His love of improvisation combined with a highly interactive approach means that he may not only engage you in conversation, but also actually encourage you to join him on stage in the opening act!  In fact, watch out!  Since he's playful, likes to experiment and believes in seizing the moment, even he doesn't always know what's going to happen.  This not only helps makes each performance unique, but also keeps it fresh and exciting.  As Shakespeare wrote, ". . . one man in his time plays many parts . . ." and LePage's creative use of voice should shine through as he creates all 26 characters, both male and female, all within the span of about two hours.  Yes, all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.  So come, and play along with Al LePage.  He'll begin by taking you back to “Eugene City” in the year 1856, introduce "himself" in character as "Englishmen Thomas Hutchinson, Amateur Thespian", and then bring you both to laughter, and hopefully some tears, during his dramatic reading of Charles Dickens 'A Christmas Carol'.'"

"Bringing history to life by portraying people from past," begins LePage, "is a very powerful way to engage people, and connect them with the history of where they live or visit.  Great stories can make people more aware of the reality that surrounds them, and connect them with others and within themselves for greater understanding and compassion. Live drama can bring these great stories to life in a way that provides both entertainment and insight.  So, given all this and the themes of personal transformation and charity in Dickens 'A Christmas Carol,' it simply makes a lot of sense to donate my time and talents to benefit others through dramatic readings of this particular story."

candleDoing these readings for charity in Eugene 1856-style actually has many parallels from history, indeed, history will actually be repeating itself in many ways.  First, Dickens gave public readings of his works, "A Christmas Carol' among them.  In fact, he developed a "reading version" of it for the stage, and that's the script LePage will be using for his presentations.  Dickens also brought the various characters to life simply through changes in his voice, facial expressions and other gestures and  movements of the body, and LePage will do likewise.  So much for Dickens historic readings, but what's significant about the Oregon Territory in 1856?  This was the very year that one of the first actors to perform in the Oregon Territory arrived  Stephen Massett was an English actor who came to America in the 1850's, first performing in New York, then to California playing to audiences both in San Francisco and then by touring the state's mining camps.  In 1856 he took a coastal steamer named the "Columbia" up the coast to Astoria, where he gave his first performance in what would soon become the state of Oregon before continuing on to play in Portland and in cities in the Willamette Valley as far south as Corvallis.

"On a personal level," notes LePage," there's even a couple more things that connect the upcoming readings with history.  Massett offered a "one man show" that included singing, dancing and recitation, and he featured a piece in which he portrayed several characters.  In my one man show I also plan to sing at least one song and do at least a twirl or two in addition to creating the voices of all the varied characters.  Also, the first years Dickens gave public readings of this story he literally donated all the funds to charity!  And I am doing the same to benefit the Lane County Historical Society and Museum in their efforts to preserve and present area history."


The Lane County Historical Society is a non-profit organization encouraging the preservation of Lane County history by operating the Lane County Historical Museum to collect, preserve and interpret Lane County's rich heritage. The Society also publishes the Lane County Historian, a quarterly newsletter and other publications and houses an archives section as a regional repository relating to Lane County's settlement and growth since the early 1800's.  Collections include photographs, manuscripts, original records, books, maps, studies, reports, and newspaper clippings.  Throughout the year the Society hosts special events, new exhibits, general meetings featuring presentations, and participates in projects such as historic preservation and the collection of oral histories and offers books and other items for sale at their gift shop. For further information, contact the Lane County Historical Society by phone at (541) 682-4242 or visit their website www.lanecountyhistoricalsociety.org.


"Englishman Thomas Hutchinson, Amateur Thespian" as portrayed by Al LePage is sure to bring lots of  laughter,
 and hopefully some tears, during his upcoming dramatic readings of Charles Dickens classic 'A Christmas Carol'.'"