** Cancel Christmas
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Script Sample Below
A Musical Play for children of all ages
Book by Sam Younghans
Music & Lyrics by Paula Samonte & Sam Younghans
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The Style of Cancel Christmas
The first draft of Cancel Christmas was written for children to perform, for children, although later productions used older people for the main roles. It was written with little time for revisions, because the first act was written in the middle of November for a December production. The children, who had been in the writer’s acting class, were the cast. They were responsive, attentive and committed. They were in rehearsal while the second act was being written. The response of the production was good and it was requested for the following year.
At that point, the writer started revising and improving the script. Watching the many productions helped mold the play - each successive year, revisions were added or items dropped. The concept was to have a play that would emulate the Christmas spirit of the twenties, thirties and the forties. Those years were wonderful years for Christmas. The songs and stories written during that era are timeless; the standards of today’s Christmas.
The writer wanted Cancel Christmas to be of that era. He wanted to bring out the love and caring of Santa, Mrs. Santa and the elves, in contrast with Bogwig and the evil trolls. There would be no toys that emulated violence or hate, no arguing or dissension among the elves. The elves wanted to help Santa, they followed Gribby, who was Santa’s right hand man. There were no frowns, arguing or acts of frustration. Santa’s works shop was a happy, warm, loving place. The elves were alive with excitement and energy; an example for the children.
For contrast, Bogwig and the trolls, were evil, argumentative, hateful and menacing. The chant "Bring Back the Bad" was written in the first draft - it shows the evil, with humor, in a melodramatic style. Audiences laugh and applaud it. The response of the audiences at all productions has been excellent.
Paula Samonte, helped with the first three years of the production in Sonoma, California. Paula is a professional singer and actress. She knew the flavor of the play and wrote the songs with that in mind. The songs are repetitious, and simple with a familiar sound. This was done with the children in mind. The songs show the love and caring of Santa, Mrs Santa and the elves. Because they are simple and familiar, children remember them. And, they will remember Cancel Christmas.
A note to directors:
As you know, each director has his own concepts and inspirations that are brought into the direction of a play. That is good, as long as the theme and feelings of the play as envisioned by the writer are not changed to the point of being a new and different play. That is the reason publishers set the rules, about revisions and cuts, and that is the reason I wrote this little introduction. If you enter into this production with the knowledge and goal of the play, any concepts or changes you bring in, will only help the play convey that feeling.
I hope you enjoy directing this play as much as I have enjoyed writing it, and seeing it in production.
BEFORE CURTAIN: start Christmas music fifteen minutes before curtain. Cue music so that symphony music begins playing five minutes before curtain opens.
AT FIVE MINUTE CUE: Enter Clown (Mime) to apron L. Crosses C. looking at audience. Begins to conduct the music. Does comic bits related to the music. At end of music, Clown asks audience if they want him to open the curtain. Teases them a little and then crosses to curtain to open it. Struggles with curtain, can't open it. Turns to audience and shrugs. Has idea; crosses L. picks up an imaginary rope or pole, returns C. , and attempts pulling or prying the curtain open. Narrator enters R. . Sits in rocker, sees Clown, clears his throat to get the Clown's attention. Shakes his head and motions to the Clown to come over to him. Clown scratches his head and then crosses to Narrator who motions for him to sit down beside him. Clown sits on the floor. Narrator opens book and begins to read the opening of "CANCEL CHRISTMAS":
For as long as anyone can remember the North Pole has been the home of Santa Claus. Every Christmas Eve, Santa and his reindeer travel over the rooftops delivering gifts to children around the world. He and his helpers, who are mostly elves, work all year long making toys and presents for Christmas. They love their job, knowing the joy their work will bring to the children. It is fun for them, and they have always finished on time for Santa's deliveries. But there was one year, not so long ago, that Santa almost missed Christmas.
It happened on a dark, wintry night only a few days before Christmas. That night, cold gusty winds from the North caused the falling snow to swirl and drift around Santaland. But Santa's house, his workshop and the barns where he kept the sleighs and the reindeer formed a courtyard, a protective circle that tamed the wind and the snow. A light from a large window of the workshop fell warmly across the white floor of the courtyard and illuminated the flakes of snow as they fell. There were only a few days left; it was going to be a very white Christmas.
Inside the workshop a bright fire crackled in the large fireplace. The elves were working on the toys, doing the many little chores that needed to be done by Christmas Eve. They were painting faces on the dolls, putting wheels on the wagons and runners on the sleds, making hats for the wooden soldiers, sorting the games, and much, much more. Santa sat at his desk checking his list of children, while Mrs. Santa sat in a rocking chair near the fireplace sewing him a new hat. She frequently visited the workshop when she wasn't busy at home. Though busy, the workshop was cozy and peaceful.
Narrator closes book, hands a crank handle to the Clown who takes it to the curtain Right, and cranks open the curtain (if there is no curtain, lights can come slowly up on the stage.) When curtain is open exit Clown.
As Clown Crosses R. to crank open the curtain, Cast begins singing "BELLS".
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