I don't know if you know this about me, but Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation is my childhood hero, so naturally I'm super stoked for his return to the small screen in the upcoming spin off series Star Trek: Picard. Sir Patrick Stewart's brilliant performance is what made the character so beloved and influential to many people of my generation.
Now, with it being 2020 and myself an avid Picard/Sir Patrick fan I follow both accounts on social media. The other day I followed a link to an article in Variety featuring Patrick Stewart. The article kicks off with mention of Patrick Stewart's one man theatrical adaption of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
Is it a coincidence that I've been formulating my own adaptation of the timeless tale as well? Up until this point, my version was only ideas loosely woven together and I had yet to put pen to paper or more accurately fingers to keys. However, as I continued to read the article, there were some points that began to spark the motivation to start actively working on it that I had been lacking.
The first one was Sir Patrick assertion that A Christmas Carol is more relevant in our present time than ever.
...'Stewart believes that makes the piece more timely than ever. He characterizes “A Christmas Carol” as a “profoundly angry attack” on a society that treats marginalized people as subhuman. “Forget about Tiny Tim and all that stuff,” he says. “It’s a political document.” '
I personally couldn't agree more, and that's the direction that I will be taking with my version. The setting will be a dystopian future in which human rights have been curtailed back to the level they were at in Victorian London as a result of an oppressive capitalist regime that decimated democracy, equality and labor laws, paving the way for the 1% to rule the masses.
The second thing Sir Patrick said that hit home in the most personal way was, he described the impact acting had on his young life.
“Nothing bad could happen to me for the two and a half hours that we were doing the play, because I became somebody else,”
From a very young age I've loved performing and creating characters and worlds through various mediums for the same reason. Artistic expression is a safe place. It's somewhere I can go to be myself by being someone else. I don't have to be Jenny Kirby the chronically ill, domestic violence and multiple sexual assault survivor who suffers from PTSD. I can shed those afflictions and be the White Witch of Narnia or Elanor Sharp the genius bionics engineer.
Elanor Sharp incidentally is the main character of my version of A Christmas Carol which currently has the working title of A Bionic Holiday Ballad. This is something I've been wanting to do for a long time, but the magnitude of tackling a project like this has been daunting and too much to take on...until now. Working on this project will be the next phase in my recovery journey. Elanor is a workaholic with a privileged but traumatic childhood. There will be a lot of events that will mirror my own experiences as we take a trip with the Ghost of Holiday Past.
I'm also going to be layering in some mental health metaphors particularly when it comes to what the ghosts symbolize. The Ghost of Holiday Past will represent depression. Holiday Present is will represent existing in a state of serenity and mindfulness and Holiday Future will represent anxiety.
This project is a huge undertaking that will be ongoing over the next few years, but it will spawn a whole bunch of new music(at least 2 albums) plus some new music videos, artwork and of course a film. While I do believe in coincidences, I'm taking the timing of the Variety article and the words of Sir Pat Stew as a sign that it's time to allow myself to be infected by the bug again.