Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" will be presented in the style of a Victorian-era dramatic reading Thursday in Framingham and Saturday at the Wayside Inn. Dressed in period clothes and speaking in a British accent, Framingham native Al LePage will again perform Dickens' classic tale as "Englishman Thomas Hutchinson, Amateur Thespian."

Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" will be presented in the style of a Victorian-era dramatic reading Thursday in Framingham and Saturday at the Wayside Inn.


Dressed in period clothes and speaking in a British accent, Framingham native Al LePage will again perform Dickens' classic tale as "Englishman Thomas Hutchinson, Amateur Thespian."


The mostly self-taught "living historical interpreter" will perform the popular Christmas tale, reading from a copy of Dickens' original speaking script.


A 1972 graduate of Framingham South High School, LePage will present a shortened version of Dickens' original script Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Village Hall at 2 Oak St., Framingham. Students from the McCarthy Elementary School will sing and dance in the show.


Before each show, LePage will speak with audience members about current events as were occurring in "New England in 1869."


Doors open 30 minutes before the performance. Shows are suitable for adults and children 10 and older.


Admission is $10. All ticket sales for the Thursday night performance will equally benefit the Framingham History Center and Literacy Unlimited.


On Saturday, LePage will present the full version of "A Christmas Carol" as Dickens did on his famous American tour.


That performance is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Martha-Mary Chapel of the Wayside Inn off Route 20 in Sudbury. Ticket sales for the Saturday show will benefit the Wayside Inn and A Place to Turn, a Natick nonprofit food pantry.


Seating is limited for both venues. Since last year's Sudbury performance sold out, it is recommended people reserve ahead by calling the Wayside Inn at 978-443-1776 or The Framingham History Center at 508-872-9091 for the Thursday evening performance. Village Hall is not wheelchair accessible.


The most revered English novelist of the 19th century, Dickens toured the U.S. in 1842 and 1867 giving widely popular readings from "A Christmas Carol," "The Pickwick Papers" and other works. The 1867 tour began and ended in Boston with his final American speaking engagement.


Since Dickens' tale has so many characters, LePage performs as a fictional Englishman, Thomas Hutchinson, using his voice to create 26 male and female characters to end with a joyful "God bless us everyone."


Describing his performing style as "interactive," LePage said he often mingles with audiences before and after shows remaining "in role" as he speaks with them.


"Bringing history to life by portraying someone from the past is a very powerful way to engage people and connect them with the history of where they live and visit," said LePage. "Great stories can make people more aware of the reality around them. ...Live drama can bring these great stories to life in a way that provides both entertainment and insight."


THE ESSENTIALS:


Actor Al LePage, a Framingham native, returns to the region for two holiday benefit shows this week.


Thursday at 7 p.m., he'll combine local history with a classic Christmas story at the Village Hall, 2 Oak St., Framingham when he presents "A Very Victorian Christmas Carol: Framingham Center 1869." Admission is $10. Visit framinghamhistory.org or call 508-872-0484. Village Hall is not wheelchair accessible.


On Saturday, Dec. 12, he'll perform his Victorian Christmas show at the Martha Mary Chapel at the Wayside Inn, Rte. 20, Sudbury, at 6 p.m. Admission is $10. Visit www.wayside.org or call 978-443-1776.