Charles Dickens staggers on stage and drops dead.
But not to worry. He almost immediately leaps to his feet, having gotten out of the way the nasty business of dying so that he and his audience can enjoy their time together without the threat of death hanging over them.
British Actor Pip Utton performs excerpts from Dickens, his one-man show about the great Victorian writer, and discusses the man and his art on Sunday, December 9, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Utton's performance finds the mature Dickens describing the previous dozen years as the happiest he has known. His unorthodox personal life at last has been shaped to fit his tastes: he is separated from a wife he hates, free to enjoy the platonic companionship of his sister-in-law and to indulge in the old man's prerogative of doting on a young actress. And he has discovered his highly satisfying and financially rewarding second career as a public reader of his own works.
Dickens is by turns confessional, angry, delighted, wistful, and above all contented, interrupting the conversation every now and then for readings in the histrionic style of the day.
Dickens is more than an entertaining diversion. It is an evening with the man behind the myth and an ideal way to observe the 200th anniversary year of Dickens' birth.
Described by The Daily Telegraph as "the doyen of the one-man show," Pip Utton has been writing and performing solo shows for 16 years. Among the famous men he portrays are Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Adolf Hitler, and painter Francis Bacon. He also has done one-man shows about Quasimodo, the fictional protagonist of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and characters from A Christmas Carol.
Major funding for programs at the Kansas City Public Library is provided by a generous grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.