Approximate running time of 50 minutes.
We all know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge – a mean and twisted, lonely old man who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve to make him see the error of his ways. This is the same story…sort of…but there are a few variations. The Cratchit children are not sweet little angels in the face of grinding poverty. It is hinted that Mrs Cratchit has an uncontrollable temper at times, plus, the Ghost of Jacob Marley will always appear if champagne is on the menu. It’s a bit of a gentle laugh. Nothing too over the top.
Between 13 and 20 SPEAKING PARTS (Doubling is possible for several of the parts).
PLEASE NOTE: there are snatches of Christmas carols sung throughout this play by a team of CAROLLERS, who also act as stage technicians. The choice of carols is yours.
As with all our plays, there are full production notes that give advice on scenery, costumes and props.
NO ROYALTIES. PHOTOCOPYING LICENCE INCLUDED.
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ACT I SCENE ONE
In front of SCROOGE’s counting house.
Play opens with Christmas carols in front of curtain, if possible, if not then the interior of the office could be visible (SEE PRODUCTION NOTES.) There is a small old table stage left and BOB Cratchit’s desk stage Right. On BOB’s desk is a big ledger and a candle in a holder. SCROOGE has another ledger. They are writing with pens with nibs and inkwells. Blotting paper etc.
CAROLLERS enter stage left past audience, arrange themselves on stage with a certain amount of whispered shuffling, facing the audience. When they are settled,
1st CAROLLER (female) (to other CAROLLERS – and audience)
Now, are we ready? (stamps three times on floor – as if knocking at a door. CAROLLERS begin to sing)
SCROOGE (appears shouting at CAROLLERS)
Humbug! Humbug I say! Clear off the lot of you! How dare you come making that horrible noise and interrupting honest work like this!
1st CAROLLER (whispers)
Go on, ask him! (nudges 2nd CAROLLER to speak to Scrooge).
2nd CAROLLER (tentatively)
Might I take this opportunity, good Sir, to mention the poor of the district? We – my friends and I – are going from house to house singing carols to celebrate this joyous time of year and to try to collect a little money to help
the poor. These are sadly hard times for the poor – well, hard times for everybody, as you know.
D’you think you’re making them any better with that dreadful noise? Sounds like half-drowned cats in a bag all screaming to get out.
2nd CAROLLER (polite laugh)
To be sure we are only simple amateurs but we do our best, Mr. Scrooge, and no man – or woman (as 1st C digs him in the back) – can do more!
Well if that’s the best you can do, you’d better give up – or are you hoping that people will give you money to go away?
I’m not sure what we’d have to do to get you to give us money! But (womanfully), we’re prepared to try it, whatever it is. Times are hard. . .
He already said that.
But it’s true, my dear sir! Banks are failing, companies are going out of business, every day more and more people are becoming unemployed. The price of houses is falling so that the poor people who have lost their jobs not
only cannot pay their rents, they cannot even afford to live! People are homeless, starving…
They get benefit from the government, don’t they? And soup from the soup kitchens?
Alas! To get benefit, you need a home address – and these people have lost their homes!
And the soup’s awful – I wouldn’t feed it to a starving dog!
Then I suggest you put the dog into the soup – thus both improving the flavour of the soup and reducing the number of hungry mouths by one. Now be off with you and stop wasting my time. It’s not my problem.
Yes, sir, thank you for your time. Merry Christmas to you. Miserable old skinflint. (CAROLLERS start to leave).