Someone You Should Know: Kim Tenreiro

Most people know the story of "A Christmas Carol," the novella by 19th century English author Charles Dickens. But few know it as well as Kim Tenreiro. (WHAM photo)

(WHAM) - For 10 years now, a retired pharmacist from Canandaigua has carried on an ambitious Christmas tradition. What Kim Tenreiro does, and why he does it, makes him Someone You Should Know.

Most people know the story of "A Christmas Carol," the novella by 19th century English author Charles Dickens. But few know it as well as Kim Tenreiro.

"I probably monkeyed with the idea for 10 years before it occurred to me, 'Why would I want to that?'" he said.

Tenreiro says his idea started when he saw actor Patrick Stewart perform a one-man version of the Dickens classic in New York City.

"Finally, that 'Aha' moment," Tenreiro said. "I could do it to raise money for charity. So it was a bit of a personal challenge but now I have a mission in so doing."

So Tenreiro bought the CD of Stewart's performance, and would listen to it in his car. Then he wrote the 15,000 words on index cards. (The actual novella is closer to 25,000 words, but it is pared down for the live performances.) Every night at bedtime, he would memorize a sentence or two and add it to what he'd learned the night before.

"It's a hard phenomenon to describe," Tenreiro said. "But it's a string of pearls. So the story flows in a particular way. And I just brute forced it in there. If you read something enough, it gets into a different part of your memory where it's in there forever."

In his pocket for every performance, in which he portrays more than 30 characters, Tenreiro has a miniature book that serves as both a prop and inspiration. The tiny version of "A Christmas Carol" is signed by Gerald Charles Dickens, a direct descendant of the author.

Tenreiro said while there have many great movies and plays based on "A Christmas Carol," we are missing a lot if we have not read the actual book.

"His way with words in such a short book, to have so many characters and so many scenes and so much message is really quite touching to people," Tenreiro said.

Tenreiro has performed the work solo over 100 times, and raised $80,000 for charity along the way. But he is quick to remind us that while he's not making money for himself, the work is still rewarding.

"The message is a good one to revisit at least annually," Tenreiro said. "I get back in touch with not to judge other people, and not to be too complacent in where I am at any given point. There's always more that can be done."

There is no humbug in that sentiment.

Tenreiro is looking for more opportunities to do his performances for charity. He can be reached via email at KimsChristmasCarol@gmail.com.


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