Christmas in July

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, July 9, 2020


Here’s another pair of free audiobooks we planned before we knew that 2020 was going to need extra celebrations. Thanks to Naxos AudioBooks and Alison Larkin Presents, we are delighted to share two funny and thought-provoking listens.


We do try to arrange a title from William Shakespeare in every SYNC season because he has an enormous role in the English language’s idiomatic development and in actors’ developmental experiences. This year, we’re handing out a slightly abbreviated Twelfth Night, with a star-studded cast of Shakespearian actors directed by Nicolas Soames. Gender confusion, romantic hopes and intentions, and songs that serve up suggestive possibilities may surprise contemporary teen listeners with situations that amuse nearly half a millennium after Elizabethan audiences enjoyed good holiday humor.

Paired with that classic is Alison Larkin’s reworking of a Charles Dickens story that many still associate with “traditional Christmas.”  A Christmas Carol here, however, has been flipped to surprisingly effective success. Remember Scrooge in the classic version? Of course, you do because his name has become synonymous with exhibiting miserly, festive-eschewing meanness. In Larkin’s redo, however, Scrooge is a woman and the tale of Christmas also becomes one of imagining what 19th-century life would have been like if gender equality had existed in Victorian times. And where would social norms be today?

It’s July. It’s a very long time since last Christmas. Download this week’s free audiobooks and dream of winter holidays that have been and may be yet to come.

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