A christmas Carol Based on the novel by Charles Dickens Adapted by C. C. Ford

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A Christmas Carol

Based on the novel by Charles Dickens - Adapted by C.C. Ford

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Act I
Scene 1
Scrooge's Counting House

Music: (Track ) Overture - Deck the Halls
Lights: Overhead spots up enough to see stage. Brighter as cast enters.
Chorus enters on their cues from different directions, greeting one another. They carry packages and various Christmas shopping bags. All come to stage and greet until change of musical tone. Bob Cratchit goes directly to his desk. He begins to work, often trying to warm his hands by a candle he lights on his desk. Scrooge enters down the center isle. All grow quiet as they see him.
Lights: Overhead spots off when Scrooge reaches 1st rows of seats. Red lights on.
He stops when center stage and glares at audience, then turns, passes through the crowd and goes to his desk.
Music: Fast fade Overture - Desk the Halls

Music: (Track ) Bell Carol/ What Child is This?
Lights: Add green lights to red when music begins.
The Chorus freezes when the chimes begin to play.
Narrator

Marley was dead to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The record of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the sole mourner...Ebenezer Scrooge. Old Marley was dead as a door nail. Scrooge and he were partners in their business for I don't know how many years. Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name on the sign outside the counting house. He was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner.


(Pause)

He was hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out fire; secret and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.

(Pause)
The cold within him froze his old features, and nipped at his pointed nose.
(Pause)
Shriveled his cheek and stiffened his walk.
(Pause)
Made his eyes red and his thin lips blue.
(Pause)
He spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice, and he didn't thaw one bit at Christmas.
Lights: Over heads up slowly on build up to chorus of “What Child it This?”…

Lights (cont.)…as in just before“This, this is Christ the King...”
Song is sung to completion. Chorus exits as final bells of song die away.
Lights: Full on.
Scrooge

Bah! Humbug!


Fred enters stage right with a Christmas wreath.
Fred

Merry Christmas, Uncle Scrooge! God save you!


Scrooge

Humbug!
Fred

Christmas a humbug? You don't mean that.
Scrooge

I do mean it. Merry Christmas. Humph.

What reason do you have to be merry? You're poor enough.

Fred

What reason do you have to be miserable? You're rich enough.


Scrooge

Bah!
Fred

Don't be cross, uncle.
Scrooge

What else can I be when I live in such a world of fools at this "Merry Christmas"? What's Christmas except a time for paying bills without money, and a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer? If I had my way every idiot who goes about with "Merry Christmas" on his lips would be boiled in his own pudding

and buried with a stake of holly through his heart!
Fred

Uncle!
Scrooge

(Mimicking) Nephew! Keep Christmas in your way and let me keep it in mine.
Fred

But you don't keep it at all.

Scrooge

Let me leave it alone, then. What good has Christmas ever done you?

Fred

Christmas is when Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. If He hadn't been born, He wouldn't have given His life and there would be no hope for me or anyone. Christmas was the beginning of the possibility of eternity, and the truest gift of Christmas is that every man, woman and child has the chance to accept Christ and be saved from spending eternity away from God, not to mention having His guidance here on earth. Christmas is a miracle, and I say God bless it!


Cratchit applauds. Scrooge throws him a disapproving look, so Cratchit acts as though he is only warming his hands.
Fred

Bob! Good to see you!


Fred greets Cratchit. Two charitable workers enter. One carries a clipboard and pen. The other carries a box.

Narrator

Now, on Christmas Eve it was the tradition of local charitable volunteers to go round to local businesses collecting donations for the poor and homeless.



Worker 1

(Extending a hand, expecting a handshake)

Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge or Mr. Marley?
Scrooge

(Ignoring the hand) Mr. Marley has been dead seven years today.
Worker 2

We are collecting for the poor who suffer greatly at this time of year. Many are in need of common necessities: hundreds have no comfort of cheer this Christmas.


Scrooge

Are there no prisons?


Worker 1

(With confusion) Plenty of prisons.


Scrooge

And are there shelters?


Worker 2

Unfortunately there are many.


Scrooge

Oh! I was afraid from what you said that something had happened to them.

I am very glad to hear that's not the case.

Worker 1

We want to share the love of Christ and Christian charity with those in need.

Christmas is a time when the lack of joy is felt even more than during the rest of the year.

What may I put you down for?

Scrooge

Nothing.
Worker 2

You wish to remain anonymous?
Scrooge

I wish to be left alone!


Fred

That is very true.


Scrooge

I cannot afford to make idle people merry.



Fred

That is very not true.


Scrooge

(To Fred) Don't you have somewhere else to be?


Fred

Sadly I do. (Crossing to the charitable workers) So here is my donation. (Back to Scrooge) and I leave you to make yours. (Crossing back to stage left to exit, but stops with a thought.) Oh, come have dinner with Emma and me tomorrow.


Scrooge

Why did you get married, Fred?


Fred

Because I fell in love.


Scrooge

Love. That's the only thing in the world more ridiculous than a

Merry Christmas!
Fred

It's no use, uncle. I will continue to wish you a Merry Christmas in spite of your gloom and humbugs. (Fred hangs his wreath.) Merry Christmas Bob!


Bob Cratchit

Merry Christmas Fred!


Scrooge

Humbug!
Fred exit stage left. Scrooge returns to his work, but the charitable workers are not going away. Still working, eyes on his desk, he address them.


I help support the prisons and the shelters - they cost enough - and

those who are badly off must go there.


Worker 1

Many can't go there, and many would rather die.


Scrooge

(Getting up and getting angry) If they would rather die they had better

do it, and decrease the surplus population! Now good day!
The charitable workers give up and exit quickly. Scrooge goes back to work.
Pause.

A chorus of Carolers enter singing “Joy to the world” a capella. When they finish, the caroling child breaks off from them and moves to stage left to sing "Ding, Dong Merrily On High" outside Scrooge's office. Scrooge, much annoyed, finally goes to address the child.

Scrooge

What do you want?


Caroling Child

Nickel for the song, sir?


Scrooge

A nickel?!?


Scrooge grabs the wreath and throws it at the child. The child
exits running. Cratchit begins to gather up papers and blow out his candle. He then stands at Scrooge's desk.
Scrooge

You'll want off all day tomorrow, I suppose?


Bob Cratchit

If quite convenient, sir.


Scrooge

It's not convenient.


Bob Cratchit

It's only once a year, sir.


Scrooge

A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December! But I suppose you must have the whole day. But be here even earlier the next morning!


Bob Cratchit

I will, sir. Thank you! (Cratchit goes quickly, saying over his shoulder...) Merry Christmas!


Scrooge

Bah! Humbug!


Lights: Off.

End Scene

Music: (Track ) “ ” for scene change

Lights: Minimum for scene change

­­­­­­­­­


Scene 2
Scrooge's Bed Chamber

Lights: Blue.
As the Narrator reads, Scrooge walks to his chair and sits down beside a table with an unlit candle.
Narrator

That evening, Scrooge took his usual depressing dinner in his usual depressing tavern and then went home to bed. He lived in rooms that had once belonged to his deceased partner. Scrooge lit no lamps and sat with the light of only one candle. Darkness was cheap, and Scrooge liked it.


Scrooge attempts to light the candle while…

Sound: bell tolls 12 times.

Success is slow in coming, and much low grumbling is the result. Finally the candle lights, and Scrooge settles back in his chair, seeming to go to sleep with his chin on his chest. A bit of snoring is heard.
Music (Tracks - ): Jacob Marley – Part One

Jacob Marley – Part Two
Lights: Add green to blue
Marley enters down the stairs extreme stage left. His chains clank heavily.
Marley

Ebenezer Scrooge.



Scrooge

What do you want of me?


Marley

Much!
Scrooge

Am I dreaming?
Marley

Perhaps.


Scrooge

Who are you?


Marley

Ask me who I was.


Scrooge

Who were you then?


Marley

Jacob Marley, your late business partner.


Scrooge

Bah!
Marley

You don’t believe me?
Scrooge

I don’t. Maybe something I ate is giving me bad dreams. You may be some undigested beef, or a crumb of cheese. There’s more of gravy than grave about you “Jacob”.


Marley

Ebenezer, your sense of humor isn’t the only thing about you that needs improvement. I have come to warn you. Your life is in danger…grave danger.


Scrooge

Why do you trouble my sleep, Jacob?


Marley

You see me wearing these chains I forged in my life by my actions. Link by link, yard by yard, I made them with my greed and apathy. Seven years ago, at my death, I was condemned to put them on and now I must wear these chains for all eternity! You too, my friend, are making a chain with your despicable actions in this life, and it is longer and heaver than this.


Scrooge

Marley, tell me more. Speak comfort to me, Jacob.


Marley

I have none to give.


Scrooge

How did you forge these chains? You were always a good man of business?

Lights: add red

Marley

(Shout) Business? Can’t you see what the cost of our notion of business has been to me? It’s cost me my soul for all eternity! While I was alive, my business should have been Jesus Christ: compassion, mercy, love! People should have been my business. Listen closely Ebenezer, for I speak the truth. The place where I now must dwell is ruled by the forces of darkness, and they are masters of deception. They spread the lie that all a person must be is decent and good to inherit the kingdom of heaven, escaping an eternity of the fires and torments of hell. It’s a lie and I bought it! I am here tonight to tell you that you have a chance of escaping my fate; a chance of escaping my torment, Ebenezer.


Scrooge

You were always a good friend to me.


Marley

Tonight you will be visited by three spirits.


Scrooge

Is that the chance I have?


Marley

It is?
Scrooge

I think I’d rather not.
Marley

Expect the first when the bell tolls one.


Scrooge

Can’t I take them all at once and get it over with?


Marley

No! When the bell tolls one the first will appear. Listen to them. Your future depends on it.

Farewell, Ebenezer.
Marley exits up the stairs extreme stage left. Scrooge sits back in his chair. When Marley has completely disappeared, Scrooge says…
Scrooge

Humbug!


Lights: off

End Scene

Scene 3
Scrooge's Bed Chamber/ School Room



Sound: Bell tolls one.
Music: (track ) The Spirit of Christmas Past – Evenstar

The Spirit of Christmas Past enters down the stairs extreme stage left.

Lights: Spotlight dimly up on Spirit, growing brighter as she nears stage.

Lights: Add Yellow when she reaches main stage.
Scrooge

Are you the Spirit whose coming I was told of?


Spirit of Christmas Past

I am.
Scrooge

Who are you?
Spirit of Christmas Past

I am the Spirit of Christmas Past.


Scrooge

Long past?


Spirit of Christmas Past

No, your past.


Scrooge

What business brings you here?


Spirit of Christmas Past

Your welfare.


Scrooge

Dreamless sleep would be more beneficial to my welfare.


Spirit of Christmas Past

Your salvation, then. Rise and walk with me.



Music (track ): Traveling to the Past – In the Bleak Midwinter
Scrooge takes her hand and the SoCPast leads him to stage left.
Lights: full lights up.
Child Scrooge sits center stage working at his school desk.
Narrator

And so they went back to Ebenezer Scrooge’s childhood. It was Christmas Eve afternoon. The sights and smells brought back a thousand memories long, long forgotten.


Scrooge

It’s me when I was a boy. This is where I went to school. It seems practically deserted.


Two (or more) schoolboys enter from stage right. They carry coats, hats, bags, etc. They surround Child Scrooge, crossing behind him if going to his left side.
Schoolboy 1

Why are you still working, Scrooge? It’s Christmas break now! The bell rang ages ago!


Schoolboy 2

He never goes home for Christmas.

Schoolboy 1

Who doesn’t want to go home for Christmas?

Schoolboy 2

Shhh. Let’s go.


Schoolboys exit stage right.
Child Scrooge

Who cares about stupid old Christmas.


Child Scrooge picks up a paper and crosses to stage left with it, going out of sight.
Spirit of Christmas Past

Let us see another Christmas.


Young Scrooge emerges, carrying the same paper, crossing to the desk and sitting down to work. Young Scrooge gets up and paces the space. When his back is to stage left, Fan enters from stage left.
Fan

Ebenezer!


Young Scrooge & Scrooge

Fan!
Young Scrooge and Fan embrace.


Spirit of Christmas Past

These are the shadows of things that have been. They are not aware of us.


Young Scrooge and Fan hold one another’s arms as they continue to speak.
Fan

I have come to bring you home, brother!


Young Scrooge

Home?
Fan

Yes, home for good. Home forever and ever! Father is so much kinder than he used to be, and home is like heaven! You never have to come back here; and we’ll be together all Christmas long and have the best time in the world! Come on!
They exit stage left.
Lights: down.

Lights: Spotlight on Scrooge and SoCPast

Spirit of Christmas Past

She had such a giving spirit.


Scrooge

Yes she did…before she died.


Spirit of Christmas Past

She had children, too I think.


Scrooge

One child.


Spirit of Christmas Past

Your nephew.


Scrooge

It was too difficult. Having the child killed her.


Spirit of Christmas Past

Do you hold his mother’s death against him?

Scrooge

I don’t know.

End scene
(Immediately into next scene)

Scene 4
Fezziwig’s Business



Bare stage.
Spirit of Christmas Past

Let us see a third Christmas.


Music: (track ) Fezziwig’s Party – Good King Wenseslas

Lights: All up.
Chorus enter from all directions to use center stage and stage right.
Spirit of Christmas Past

Do you know this place?


Scrooge

Yes, I was apprenticed here to old Fezziwig.


Fezziwig enters stage right with Mrs. Fezziwig, greeting their guests. Young Scrooge enters stage left, looking over a notebook. Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig part. Mr. Fezziwig and Young Scrooge meet center stage.
There he is! Mr. Fezziwig…alive again. He was as hard and ruthless and a cup of tea.
Fezziwig

No more work tonight. Praise be to God it’s Christmas Eve, Ebenezer! Come everyone, we have an entertainment this evening.


Dancers for the Party Dance take their places. Chorus move to stage right and to the edges of center stage.
Music: (track ) Party Dance – Muppet Christmas Overture

Lights:

Music and dance end. Applause.
Music: (Track ) Introducing Belle – Midnight Clear
Spirit of Christmas Past

Such a small party to make these silly folks so happy.


Scrooge

Small?!?
Spirit of Christmas Past

He has spent little money on it. Yet he receives all this praise?

Fezziwig and Belle come to center stage. Young Scrooge is nearby speaking to another guest. Belle has an empty glass in her hand.
Fezziwig

Ebenezer, come and meet a friend of my family.

Young Scrooge pardons himself from the guest and joins Fezziwig and Belle.

Belle this is Ebenezer. Ebenezer this is Belle.
Young Scrooge

Pleased to meet you, Belle.


Belle

Pleased to meet you.


Fezziwig

I’ll leave you to it, then.


Fezziwig goes to speak to other guests. Young Scrooge and Belle’s attraction makes them uneasy with each other.
Young Scrooge

Would you like a glass of punch?


Belle

No thank you. I’ve just finished one.


Awkward pause.
Young Scrooge

Um...It’s ah…It’s very warm in here. It’s the large number of guests I suppose.


Belle

Yes.
Awkward pause.



Young Scrooge

Would you like to go outside? I mean just for a moment to get some air. I…I know it’s snowing and all, but it would be cooler out there.


Belle

I’d like that.


He offers her his arm. She takes it and they exit stage left. Chorus exit stage right, saying goodbye to the Fezziwigs. Scrooge never takes his eyes from Young Scrooge and Belle. Fezziwigs exit behind their last guests.
Spirit of Christmas Past

Do you remember this party? Meeting this girl?


Scrooge

Remember? Yes, I remember . She was beautiful and I adored her.


Spirit of Christmas Past

There came a time when you adored something else more than you adored her, and you could not hide it. She saw your love for her be replaced by your need for furthering yourself in the world.


Scrooge

Please do not.


Spirit of Christmas Past

You must see.


End Scene

Lights: down for scene change

Music: (track ) Celtic instrumental

Scene 5
A Park


Music: (continue track ) Celtic instrumental

Lights: full up
Belle enters stage left and sits on a bench in the park. She waits. Young Scrooge enters after several moments.
Young Scrooge

Belle, darling. Every stop I made to today took longer than expected. I hope you haven’t been waiting long.


Belle

I feel like I’ve been waiting forever.


Young Scrooge

I’m sorry. I was sure I was only fifteen minutes late.


Belle

That’s not what I mean.


Young Scrooge

Then what do you mean.


Belle

You said we could not get married until we had a place to live, and I agreed, but you’ve had your townhouse for three years now.


Young Scrooge

I know but we also need something to live on.


Belle

I realize that, and you said that when you made partner it would be enough.


Young Scrooge

Making partner in the business wasn’t as much of a pay raise as I had hoped. And then when I looked at the world we live in I realized that we need a bit of savings to our name to provide for anything unexpected. I thought we agreed.


Belle

We did agree, but you have saved enough to buy a second home for us if we wanted it. How much is enough, Ebenezer?


Young Scrooge

Belle…I…it’s a cut throat world and I must be able to provide for you in the way you deserve.


Belle

But all I really needed was you. I know a person needs a roof, food to eat, and clothes to wear, but the clothes don’t have to be spectacular, and the food doesn’t have to be gourmet. You are so concerned that the things you buy be the best there is. A label or an address seems far more important to you …than me.


Music: (Track ) When Love is Gone

I don’t care about those kinds of things…I wanted us to be together. Even if we were poor we could have been happy just the two of us on whatever path God set in front of us.

Young Scrooge

Could have been?


Belle

I just don’t think that you will ever believe you have enough.


(Sings)

When Love is Gone

Words and Music by Paul Williams

Copyright 1992 Jim Henson Productions, Inc.


There was a time when I was sure that you and I were truly one
That our future was forever and would never come undone
And we came so close to being close, and though you cared for me
There's distance in your eyes tonight so we're not meant to be

The love is gone


The love is gone
The sweetest dream that you have ever known
The love is gone
The love is gone
I wish you well but I must leave you now alone

There comes a moment in your life, like a window, and you see


Your future there before you and how perfect life can be
But adventure calls with unknown voices pulling you away
Be careful or you may regret the choice you make someday
When love is gone
When love is gone
The sweetest dream that we have ever know

When love is gone


When love is gone
I wish you well but I must leave you now alone

Scrooge moves toward Belle to join her singing. Belle cannot see or hear him.


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