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NARRATOR: London, 1843. A bitterly cold, foggy, dark December on Christmas Eve.
(Greetings among the characters on stage)
WOMAN: Merry Christmas to ya, sir!
NARRATOR: A Christmas Carol, a ghost’s story of Christmas. Marley was dead, there was no doubt about that. The death notice was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner, Scrooge, his business partner, signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good for anything he put it to.
SCROOGE: Of course Marley’s dead, and I know it for long time. He was my partner for years, wasn’t he? And I was left everything. His only friend, and his only mourner. Yes, Jacob Marley’s dead.
NARRATOR: But Scrooge never painted out Marley’s name. There it stood for years afterwards above their warehouse door "Scrooge & Marley".
SCROOGE: Sometimes people call me Scrooge, and sometimes Marley. I answer to both names, it’s all the same to me.
NARRATOR: Oh, but he was a mean, tight-fisted old man. A squeezing, grabbing, grasping, greedy old sinner. This Christmas, as usual, Scrooge sat busy counting his money in his office. If he looked up, which was rare, through the fog he saw people outside, wheezing and coughing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts and stamping their feet on the pavements to warm them.
NARRATOR: The city clocks had only just struck three, but it was dark already, and the fog came pouring in, and seemed to form shadows like icy ghosts. But the cold was nothing to the cold within Scrooge. It froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, and stiffened his walk. There’s frost on his head, on his eyebrows and within his soul. He carries his own low temperature about him. And for him, today is nothing special, nothing to bring warmth to him or to his office.
SCROOGE: Christmas! Eh! Christmas...
SCROOGE: What is it? What do you want?
CRATCHET: If you please, sir...
CRATCHET: If you please, sir, I would appreciate a little more coal...for the fire. If you please, sir.
SCROOGE: Some more coal, Cratchet?
CRATCHET: Oh yes, sir. If you please, sir.
SCROOGE: Well I don’t please.
SCROOGE: You sit there all day long, roasting yourself at my expense and then ask me for more coal. I let you have a shovelfull yesterday, don’t you remember?
CRATCHET: Yes, Sir, but...
SCROOGE: Then what are you complaining for? I bless my soul if it wasn’t Christmas Eve, I should order you off my premises.
CRATCHET: For good?
SCROOGE: Do you understand, Cratchet? Clerks...a tin, a penny.
CRATCHET: Oh, I’m sorry, Sir!
SCROOGE: Sorry now, is it? Sorry doesn’t replace all the coal you’re burn each week at my expense. Get back to your desk and finish your work.
CRATCHET: Sir, would it be possible to finish a little earlier tonight?
My wife and children were hoping the dinner could be...
SCROOGE: Cratchet, get back to your work!
CRATCHET: Yes, Sir.
SCROOGE: You miserable old sinner!
CRATCHET: Right. I said...Ummm...Thank goodness it’s a cold dinner.
FRED: (sings:) "God rest ye merry Gentlemen, let nothing you dismay..."
CRATCHET: Merry Christmas to you Sir!
FRED: Merry Christmas, Uncle. God Bless you!
SCROOGE: Bah! Humbug!
FRED: Christmas, a Humbug? You don’t mean that, I’m sure!
SCROOGE: I do. Merry Christmas. What right do you have to be so merry? What reason do you have to be so merry? You’re poor enough.
FRED: Oh, come Sir. What right do you have to be so miserable? What reason to be so miserable? You’re rich enough.
SCROOGE: Aggh! Humbug!
FRED: Don’t be cross, uncle.
SCROOGE: What else can I be, when I live in this world with fools like you? Merry Christmas. What is merry about it? What is Christmas time to me but a time for paying bills?
FRED: And a time to receive presents.
SCROOGE: A time for finding myself a year older and no richer.
FRED: But wiser and much happier!
SCROOGE: If I had my way every fool who goes about shouting "Merry Christmas" should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart! He should!
SCROOGE: Nephew. You keep Christmas in your own way and let me keep it in mine.
FRED: But you don’t keep it.
SCROOGE: Let me leave it alone, then. Much good may it do you. Much good has it ever done you.
FRED: Well, if you mean, has it got me money-No. Most of the good things in life have given me no problem, Christmas included. I’ve always thought of Christmas as a good time. A kind, forgiving, charitable time. A very pleasant time, and the only one I know in the whole world when men and women seem to open their hearts really and think of others less fortunate than themselves. Yes, uncle, you’re right, Christmas has never put gold or silver in my pocket. But it has done me good, and will do good. So I say, "God Bless Christmas"!
CRATCHET: Oh yes, Sir! God bless Christmas!
SCROOGE: (To Cratchet) One more word from you, Sir, and you will keep Christmas by losing your situation. (To Fred) You’ve quite a way with words, Sir. I wonder you don’t go into Parliament.
FRED: Don’t be angry, uncle. Come and dine with us tomorrow.
SCROOGE: I’ll see you in hell first, indeed I will.
FRED: All in good time, uncle. Just join us for a glass of wine and a biscuit, my wife will be so delighted.
SCROOGE: Your wife. Why did you get married?
FRED: Why? Because I fell in love.
SCROOGE: Because you fell in love. Good afternoon, Sir.
FRED: But you never came to see me before I was married so what difference does that make?
SCROOGE: Good afternoon.
FRED: I want nothing from you, I ask nothing of you. Why cannot we be friends?
Well, I’m sorry with all my heart to find you so unreasonable. But I’ve made up my mind to ask you for Christmas if only because it was Christmas. And you won’t make me lose my temper, so, a Merry Christmas, uncle!
SCROOGE: Good afternoon, Sir!
FRED: And a Merry Christmas to you, Bob Cratchet and your wife and family!
CRATCHET: Oh, Thank you, Sir, thank you!
SCROOGE: There’s another one. Fifteen shillings a week, a wife and family to feed, and talking about a Merry Christmas! They’re all raving mad!
(Two women sing "Good King Wenceslas")
LADY: I know this is Scrooge & Marley...have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge or Mr. Marley?
SCROOGE: Mr. Marley has been dead nearly seven years. He died seven years ago this very night.
LADY: Oh, how sad! But we are sure his generosity lives on in you, Sir.
LADY 2: At this time of year, this festive time of year, it is normal, usually desirable, that we should make some small financial contribution to the poor, who suffer so greatly at this time.
LADY: Many thousands only want the common necessities of life.
LADY 2: Hundreds and thousands are in want of common comfort, Sir.
SCROOGE: Are there no prisons?
LADIES: Oh, yes, plenty of prisons!
SCROOGE: And the workhouses, have they all closed down?
LADY: Oh no, they have not. I wish I could say they had.
SCROOGE: I was afraid from what you said that something had occured that would stop them in their useful work. I am glad to hear it is not so.
LADY: Oh, but sir, realizing that neither the prisons nor the workhouses can provide any Christian cheer to either mind or body, we are trying to raise some money to buy the poor a little meat, and drink, and means of keeping warm at this so very special time of year, they are most in need. How much shall we put you down for, Sir?
LADY: Oh! Sir, you wish to remain anonymous?
SCROOGE: Ladies, since you ask me what I wish... I do not make myself Merry at Christmas, and I cannot afford to make idle people merry. If they are poor, I have to support the prisons and the workhouses from my taxes. They cost enough. And those who are poor must go there.
LADY 2: Well, you can’t go there. Many would rather die.
SCROOGE: If they would rather die, they had better do it, and reduce the surplus population. Good day, ladies.
(Woman sings "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen")
NARRATOR: At last, the hour of shutting up the counting house arrived. Slowly, Scrooge rose from his stool and signaled to his expected clock.
SCROOGE: You’ll want all day off, tomorrow, I suppose.
CRATCHET: If it’s quite convenient, Sir.
SCROOGE: It is not convenient and it is not fair. And if I should stop a day’s wages for it you’d think yourself badly treated, wouldn’t you? But you don’t think me badly treated for paying a day’s wages for no work.
CRATCHET: It’s only once a year, Sir.
SCROOGE: A poor excuse, stealing from a man every 25th of December. But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier the next morning.
CRATCHET: Oh, I will, Sir. I will, Sir! Thank you, Sir, thank you, Sir!
I’ll be off now, Sir!
(runs into Scrooge) Oh, I’m sorry, Sir! I’m sorry!
SCROOGE: Get up, Get up!
CRATCHET: A Merry Christmas, Sir!
SCROOGE: Merry Christmas, Humbug!
NARRATOR: Scrooge went home, growling fearfully, closes the office for Christmas.
Meanwhile, outside the fog and darkness had thickened and someone had lit a great fire, around which a party of ragged men and women were gathered.
(Actors sing "The Wassal Song")
NARRATOR: Scrooge took his usual solitary meal, and made his way home to bed. He lived in the house of his dead partner Marley, in a gloomy suite of rooms in the damp, dark house. Nobody else lived there but Scrooge, nobody else wanted to. On this night it was so dark, that even Scrooge, who knew every stone, had feeled his way with his hands to the door. There was nothing at all unusual about the door knocker, except that it was large and Scrooge had seen it every morning and night for the last seven years. Though Marley owned the house before him, Scrooge had given him not a thought since the ladies had called that afternoon.
SCROOGE: AHHGG!! Marley’s face!! (He turns away in fear and then slowly looks back at the door. Marley is gone.)...Humbug!...Humbug!
NARRATOR: Scrooge shuts the heavy door, securely fastened, and he walks through the house in the darkness to see that all is right. Nobody under the table. Nobody under the bed. Satisfied, and thus, secure against pride, takes off his coat, and cravat, puts on his dressing gown and night gown, and sits by the dying fire. (Scrooge mumbling "Humbug!")
SCROOGE: AGGHH! What do you want with me?
MARLEY: I want much.
SCROOGE: Who are you?
MARLEY: Ask me who I was.
SCROOGE: Well, who were you, then, if you are so particular!?
MARLEY: In life, I was your partner Jacob Marley.
SCROOGE: Jacob? Can you sit down?
MARLEY: I can.
SCROOGE: Do it then.
MARLEY: I see you don’t believe in me.
SCROOGE: No, I don’t.
MARLEY: What proof do you need, other than your own senses?
SCROOGE: I don’t need proof!
MARLEY: Why doubt your own senses? Your sight, your hearing, your touch.
SCROOGE: Because any little thing affects them. Indigestion, for example. A piece of undigested meat in my stomach, a plot of mustard, too much cheese. There’s more gravy than grave about you, whatever you are! It’s humbug I tell you, Humbug! AGGHH!
SCROOGE: Have mercy, dreadful ghost! I didn’t mean it!
MARLEY: Do you believe in me now?
SCROOGE: Yes, yes. I do, I do. But what brings you here? What do you want from me?
MARLEY: Every man in his life must let his spirit make a journey among his fellow men doing good to others. If the spirit is not allowed to make this journey in life, it is condemned to do so after death.
SCROOGE: But why are you chained?
MARLEY: I wear the chain I forged for myself in life, link by link, yard by yard, I made it, of my own free will I wear it! Don’t you recognize the chain?
MARLEY: Well, you should. You’re wearing one just like it. Seven years ago your chain was as long and as heavy as this. Just imagine how long your chain must be now.
SCROOGE: Jacob! Oh, Jacob Marley! Help me, show me what I must do. Show me some comfort.
MARLEY: I have none to give. Very little time is allowed to me. I cannot rest, I cannot stay, anywhere. In life my spirit never travelled beyond the narrow limits of our squatted counting house. Now, in this time and journey is lying before me. You must have been very slow on these journeys, Jacob.
MARLEY: Been seven years dead and still travelling, the whole time. No rest, no peace, only the incessant torture of gift, especially at this time of year. Listen to me Ebenezer, and listen before it’s too late. If you live to be 100, you will not find time to do all the good that lies within your power. Do not end your days regretting last chances, do not do as I did.
SCROOGE: You were always a good man of business, Jacob.
MARLEY: Charity, mercy, kindness-they should have been my business. Help for my fellow man was my business, that’s why I am here tonight, to warn you that there is still a chance that you may escape my fate.
SCROOGE: There is?
MARLEY: A small one. And if you do escape, it will only be by my due.
SCROOGE: You were always a good friend, Jacob.
MARLEY: Ebenezer, you will be haunted, haunted by three Spirits.
SCROOGE: Is this the chance of hope you mentioned.
MARLEY: It is.
SCROOGE: Well, I think I’d rather not have it.
MARLEY: But you asked! Without their help you cannot escape my dreadful fate.
Expect the first tomorrow when the clock strikes one.
SCROOGE: Couldn’t I take them all at once and get it over with?
MARLEY: Expect the second the next night at the same hour, and the third on the night following on the last stroke of midnight. Goodbye, Ebenezer. You will never see me again, but remember what has past between us. Remember!
(CAST all shout "Remember!")
NARRATOR: Scrooge tried to say "Humbug!" but stopped at the first syllable. Whether it was the emotions he had undergone, the exhaustion of the day or the sight of the invisible world, or just that it was late, he was much in need of rest. So, he lay down on the bed, and got undressed, and fell asleep upon the instant.
(Bell tolls 12 times)
SCROOGE: (awakens) twelve o’clock. This isn’t possible. I have slept through all of one day and into another night. Jacob said the first ghost would be here at one o’clock. Humbug!
Quarter past twelve? Half past?! A quarter to one?! One o’clock! The hour itself, and see-nothing.
SCROOGE: Are you the ghost that Marley said was coming to visit me?
SPIRIT: I am.
SCROOGE: Who and what are you?
SPIRIT: I am the ghost of Christmas past.
SCROOGE: Long past?
SPIRIT: No, your past.
SCROOGE: What? What brings you here?
SPIRIT: Your welfare.
SCROOGE: I think I’d much rather have it...
SPIRIT: Rise, and walk with me...
SCROOGE: But it’s really cold, I...
NARRATOR: As the word was spoken, they passed through the wall of the room, and stood upon a country road with fields either side of them. The city had entirely vanished, the darkness, the mist, had gone with it, leaving a clear, cold winter day.
SPIRIT: Do you know where you are?
SCROOGE: Perhaps. This is the place where I was born. I was a boy here.
SPIRIT: Your lip is trembling. And what is that on your cheek?
SCROOGE: Nothing. Nothing. Come, show me what you know.
SPIRIT: Do you remember the way?
SCROOGE: Remember (laughs). I could walk it blindfolded!
SPIRIT: Strange, to have forgotten it for so many years.
NARRATOR: He walked along the road, Scrooge recognizing every gate, post, and tree, until they reached the village school. Although it is Christmas, school is not completely deserted. There is one small boy left, all alone.
SCROOGE: I know him.
NARRATOR: A door opened before them, and they were in a long, bare, sad room, filled with rows of desks and benches. At one of these, a lonely boy is reading.
SCROOGE: This is me, as I used to be. Yes I know, I know. I sat here on this bench with nothing but my books for comfort. I lived in these books, these wonderful lives of friends from the stories. My friends. (cries) I was Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, I was Robinson Carusoe , and there is my main private.
TEACHER: What are you doing boy?
SCROOGE: Reading Sir.
TEACHER: Reading? Reading what?
SCROOGE: Wonderful adventure stories, Sir.
TEACHER: You have no time to waste reading stories, boy! Stories won’t pay bills. Concentrate on your arithmetic. Learn your figures, get on with your work. Just because your family can’t afford to have you home for Christmas doesn’t mean you can sit idle. If you haven’t got money you must work. Work equals money, Ebenezer. What did I say, boy?
SCROOGE: Work equals money, Sir.
TEACHER: And remember it. You can read all the adventure stories you like, but you are a nothing-a nothing are you, without money. What’s the matter with you, boy? Well, you will learn, in time.
SCROOGE: I wish, well, it’s too late now.
SPIRIT: Too late? For what?
SCROOGE: Oh, nothing.
(boy sings "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen")
SCROOGE: There was a boy singing a carol outside my office. I should have liked to have given him something, that is all.
SPIRIT: Let us see another Christmas. You have left school and are in London. A certain warehouse door is before us. Do you know it?
SCROOGE: Know it? Indeed I do! That’s the place where I was an apprentice, I learned my trade there.
Oh! It’s Fezziwig! It’s old Fezziwig, alive again!
SCROOGE: It’s Dick Williams, he was very fond of me.
FEZZIWIG: Come along, Ebenezer. You hoo, my boys, you’ll do no more work tonight! It’s Christmas Eve, Dick! It’s Christmas, Ebenezer! Now then, let’s have those shutters up before a man can say Jack Robinson! Here we go, boys! Clear away! Let’s have lots of room here! Cheer up, Ebenezer!
NARRATOR: Fezziwig looked on with pleasure and shouts of encouragement. They swept and washed the floor, trimmed the lamps, and built the fire high with logs, and turned that warehouse into a nice hall that shined and was bright all over, as you would ever wish to see on a winter’s night. And there was a great joint of roast beef, and a large piece of boiled ham, and their was cake and minced pies and plenty of beer. And everyone was invited-the family, the household, and everyone’s friends.
FEZZIWIG: We’re ready, my dear, we’re ready. And you’re in perfect time. Allow me to introduce my worthy apprentice, young Dick.
WOMAN: Oh! Dick!
FEZZIWIG: And my trusty apprentice, young Ebenezer!
WOMAN: Ebenezer, welcome, welcome! A Merry Christmas to you, one and all!
(CAST sings "Deck The Halls")
FEZZIWIG: Now, Mrs. Fezziwig and I shall lead the dance! Be so kind as to show them a thing or two!
Strike up, if you please young man.
SCROOGE: What a wonderful man! There’s no praise too high.
SPIRIT: A small matter had to make you so full of gratitude.
SPIRIT: Why? Is it not so? He has spent a few pounds of money, is that so much to deserve such praise?
SCROOGE: No, no, no. You don’t understand...it isn’t actually the presents or the money. We have the power to make our lives happy or unhappy, to make our work light or heavy, richer or in agony. I hated all these simple words and looks. And if things were small you couldn’t count them. But I know this-the happiness that he gave to me was as great as if it had cost a fortune. I wish--it’s too late,now.
SPIRIT: What’s the matter?
SCROOGE: Nothing, nothing.
SPIRIT: Something, I think.
SCROOGE: I should like to be able to say a word or two to McClarke, just now, that is all. But this is all nonsense.
SPIRIT: Be quiet! There is not much time left. Quick.
NARRATOR: This produced an immediate effect, for again Scrooge saw himself, older now. A man in the prime of his life. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years, but it had begun to bear the signs of care and greed. He was not alone, but standing by the side of a beautiful young girl dressed in black, in whose eyes there were tears.
SCROOGE: I know this girl. I know her. We were engaged to be married once. And then, one Christmas, we had a disagreement.
BELLE: It doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t. No, now you have something else to offer you the comfort I would have tried to give, so I have no reason to be sad.
YOUNG SCROOGE: And what else have I got now?
BELLE: Your constant desire for money.
YOUNG SCROOGE: How many times do I have to tell you the harshest thing in the world is poverty?
BELLE: You fear the world too much. Look what has happened to all your hopes and dreams, your ambitions, they have all gone, and now your only interest is money and how to obtain more of it.
YOUNG SCROOGE: I have no use for the ways of the world. But I haven’t changed towards you, have I?
BELLE: Yes. When we were engaged, we were both poor, and pleased to be so, until we were able to improve our fortune with our patient hard work. Now you have changed. Then you were like another man.
YOUNG SCROOGE: Then, I wasn’t born.
BELLE: You know that you’re not the same as before and that I am. Then we agreed on everything. Now we are two separate people, and so I release you from our engagement.
YOUNG SCROOGE: Am I out, then?
BELLE: Not in so many words, No. But your changed self wants something other than me. Tell me, if we were not engaged, would you now come and try to win me? You see, no.
YOUNG SCROOGE: I’m afraid not.
BELLE: Oh, I would gladly think anything else if I could, but can you honestly tell me that if you were free, you would willingly choose a girl with no money to be your wife? And even if for a moment you did, I’m sure you would regret it bitterly. And so I release you, with a heart so full of love for the man you once were. Ebenezer, this may cause you pain, but in a very brief time you will forget it as an unprofitable dream from which you have awoken. I wish you happiness in the life you have chosen
SCROOGE: No more, no more. Just be gone. I cannot take this.
SPIRIT: But there is more, many other Christmases.
SCROOGE: No more. I don’t wish to see anymore. I see her married happily to someone else. I see her with a child, more children, and they are all so happy together.
HUSBAND: Happy Christmas, my dear.
BELLE: Dear husband...
HUSBAND: Oh, yes, husband indeed! For better or worse. Would you know I saw a wealthy old friend of yours the other day?
BELLE: Oh, yes? Who was it?
HUSBAND: Oh, come now, you guess.
BELLE: How can I? Wealthy, you say?
BELLE: Oh, I know. Mr. Scrooge.
HUSBAND: Yes, indeed. Mr. Scrooge it was. I passed by his office. There he sat, all alone. Quite alone in the world, I do believe. Oh Well, a very Happy Christmas to him!
BELLE: A very Happy Christmas to him!
SCROOGE: Spirit, I cannot bear it.
SPIRIT: I told you I would show things that are past. Ask yourself, "Am I to blame?"
SCROOGE: The past is gone. Haunt me no longer!
NARRATOR: In the struggle, if you care to call it a struggle, in which a ghost and a mortal take part, Scrooge managed to overpower the ghost, and, exhausted to the point of overtiredness, barely concious of being in his own bedroom, Scrooge fell into a heavy sleep.
MARLEY: Ebenezer! It’s the Second Spirit, the next night at the same hour, and remember...remember...remember...
SCROOGE: Good! I have time to prepare myself for him, the second messenger, whoever he may be. I will sit here and I will wait for this messenger, and I will keep count. And I will not be frightened by any strange appearance- be it a baby or a rhinoceros-neither will frighten me. So there! To bed!
SPIRIT: Come Scrooge! Come and know me better, man! I am the ghost of Christmas present. Come with me!
SCROOGE: Last night I saw so many Christmases from my past. I have learned the lesson so I just go back to bed-
SPIRIT: Scrooge! I will show you Christmas as it is now. Take hold of my robe!
SPIRIT: Look! Look over there.
SCROOGE: Well, it’s Cratchit.
SPIRIT: Yes, Bob Cratchit, your clerk.
SCROOGE: Who’s that boy he’s carrying?
SPIRIT: Well, don’t you know?
SPIRIT: You’re not usually so interested in your clerk, are you? Well, that is his youngest-Tiny Tim.
TIM: Can I walk now, papa?
CRATCHIT: No, not yet, Tiny Tim, the snow’s too deep. You might fall and hurt yourself.
TIM: I won’t!
CRATCHIT: Well, you might, and that would never do!
TIM: No, that would never do.
SCROOGE: I don’t know why he doesn’t let the boy walk. Cratchit always was a tripping fool.
SPIRIT: Tiny Tim is a cripple. He can only walk with great difficulty.
TIM: Please, papa.
CRATCHIT: Alright, then, but be careful!
TIM: I will!
CRATCHIT: Down we go. One step, two...(Tim falls.)
SPIRIT: There. Does that answer your question?
SCROOGE: No. I didn’t know.
MRS. CRATCHET: Oh dear, oh dear. Whatever could have happened to your blessed father and your brother, Tiny Tim?
TIM: But Martha...
MRS. CRATCHET: Martha weren’t nearly so late as this last year, nowhere near!
CHILDREN: Here’s Martha!
MRS. CRATCHET: Bless your heart and life my dear! Why are you so late?
MARTHA: We had so much work to do last night, had to do all the clearing up this morning.
MRS. CRATCHET: Well let me take your shoal, and go warm yourself by the fire.
CRATCHET: What’s that, love?
MARTHA: Stop it! Well, I’m afraid it’s not that large, but with sage and onions, stuffing, applesauce, mash potatoes, and my special gravy, so it won’t be so bad. Oh, how wonderful to be home!
CRATCHET: Quick Martha, hide! Where’s our Martha?
MRS. CRATCHET: Not coming?
CRATCHET: Not coming? On Christmas Day?
(Music and joyous cries on stage)
MRS. CRATCHET: Alright, you children, now off you go and wash your hands before supper! Peter!
How was Tiny Tim?
CRATCHET: Oh! As good as gold. But sometimes he gets thoughtful sitting all alone and he thinks the strangest things. Today, he told me that he hugged the people in the church saw him, because he was crippled, and that it might be nice for him to remember on Christmas Day that we always make lame beggars walk and blind men see. I think our Tiny Tim is growing strong and hearty!
(Playing with children)
CRATCHET: A Merry Christmas to us, my dears! God Bless us!
TINY TIM: God Bless us every one!
SCROOGE: Spirit, tell me if Tiny Tim will live.
SPIRIT: I see an empty seat at the table. A crutch, lying there on its own, in memory. If these shadows remain unaltered, the child will die.
SCROOGE: No, kind Spirit. Say that he will be spared!
SPIRIT: But what of it? Granted you said, that he’s going to die, he better do it! Helps all by reducing the surplus population. Man, never utter such wicked words again! Are you to decide who is to live and who is to die? Maybe in the sight of heaven, you are less worthy to live than this man’s child.
(Original composition sung)
CRATCHET: Now I give you, Mr. Scrooge! The founder of the feast!
MRS. CRATCHET: Founder of the Feast, indeed! I wish I had him here now, I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon! Well, I’d hope he’d have a good appetite for it, too!
CRATCHET: My dear, the children! It is Christmas Day.
MRS. CRATCHET: Well, I drink to his health for your sake since ’tis this day. Not for his long life to end.
CRATCHET: To Mr. Scrooge! A long life to him!
ALL: A Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! God bless him!
TINY TIME: God Bless Mr. Scrooge!
(All sing "We wish you a Merry Christmas")
NARRATOR: It was dark. The snow was falling heavily as the ghost led Scrooge along the London streets. Through the windows the brightness of roaring fires, kitchens, parlours and all sorts of rooms was wonderful. Families prepared for closing years, with hot bread baking over the open fire, and the deep red curtains were ready to be drawn, to shut out the cold and darkness. But outside, the streets were full of people on their way to friendly gatherings.
NARRATOR: Wherever he walked, the ghost showed Scrooge the joy of Christmas. (CAST: "Merry Christmas!") Then, without a word of warning, they were upon a bleak, deserted mall. Peaking in to the dim light that shone through the window of a marble and stone hut. Even there they found a cheerful company assembled around a glowing fire, singing a Christmas song.
(CAST sings "Silent Night")
SPIRIT: Look. Look down there. Do you see?
SCROOGE: Water...It’s a sea.
SPIRIT: Come up to me, and look. What do you see?
SCROOGE: It’s a ship, tossing on a sea.
SPIRIT: But listen.
(Music played to "Once in Royal David City")
SPIRIT: They’re singing, everyone of them, thinking of Christmas. And perhaps the Christmas Day is past. And all hope belonging to such thoughts. Everyman, good or bad, waking or sleeping, is kinder on this day, than on any other day in the whole year. Come!
(Laughing and festivities.)
FRED: He said Christmas is a humbug, as I live! He meant it, too!
WIFE: Oh, shame upon him, Fred.
FRED: Funny old fellow, indeed. And I agree, he’s not as pleasant as he could be.
WOMAN: He’s awful!
FRED: But still I’ll not say a word against him.
WOMAN: Well, you ought to!
WIFE: They say he’s very rich.
MAN: Is he now?
WIFE: Well, you always said he is, Fred!
FRED: My dear, his wealth is of no use to him, he doesn’t do any good by it. Why he doesn’t even have the satisfaction that he’s going to help us with it!
WIFE: I have no patience for him.
FRED: Well, I have. I feel sorry for him.
FRED: Yes! I couldn’t be angry with him if I tried. Who suffers most from his bad temper. Himself, of course.
FRED: Well, I asked him to dinner and he refused, so he loses at dinner. Of course, it wasn’t much of a dinner!
WIFE: Oh, shame upon you, husband! I cooked everything myself.
FRED: No wonder he refused it! I am sorry. All I meant was, if he refuses dinner with us, he loses both pleasant memories and even pleasanter companions.
WIFE: Well, all except one.
FRED: I’m sure we’re better company than he can find in his own thoughts. Alone in that moldy old office. I’m sure you’ll agree, topper. Have you not found some excellent female company here tonight, Hmm? Speak up, topper!
MAN: Mr. Fred...
MAN: Mrs. Fred...Agnes...
WIFE: Oh, don’t go on saying Fred. Don’t mind him my dears! I don’t know why you went along to invite him at all.
FRED: My dear, to give him the same chance each year, whether he likes it or not! He may hate Christmas till he dies, but I’m sure he can’t recount the pleasure of it, if he finds me in good temper, year after year, saying "Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge, God Bless You!" Now, how about those games?
WIFE: Yes, what shall we play?
WOMAN: I know! Blind Man’s Bluff!
(Cast plays game. Lots of movement on stage)
SCROOGE: Oh please, let me stay for one more game!
SPIRIT: Well, I’m pleased to see that you’re enjoying the evening, but I have little time left.
SCROOGE: Just one more, please?
SPIRIT: Well, alright.
MAN: Let’s play "Guess and Know".
WOMAN: How do you play?
FRED: Yes, how do you play?
MAN: Well, Fred has to think something, animal, vegetable, or mineral. And we have to find out what it is.
WIFE: We all ask him questions, but he can only answer "Yes" or "No".
MAN: Are you ready Fred?
FRED: I am!
WOMAN: I thought he could only answer yes or no?!
MAN: We haven’t started yet. Now we have.
GUEST: Are you an animal?
GUEST TWO: Are you a live animal?
WOMAN: A disagreeable animal?
GUEST THREE: Are you a savage animal?
GUEST ONE: Do you grunt and growl sometimes?
FRED: Yes, sometimes.
GUEST TWO: Do you live in London?
WOMAN: Oh no!
SCROOGE: Oh, Humbug!
GUEST THREE: Do you walk about the streets?
WOMAN: Are you seen in the market?
MAN: Are you a horse?
GUEST ONE: An ass?
GUEST TWO: A cow?
GUEST THREE: A tiger!
WOMAN: I can’t think of anymore.
MAN: A pig?
GUEST ONE: I know who you are, Fred. I found out.
FRED: Who am I?
GUEST ONE: You’re uncle Scrooooooge!!!
ALL: Uncle Scrooge!
GUEST ONE: Mind you, I was nearly put off completely when you answered one of the questions wrongly.
FRED: Oh? Which one was that?
GUEST ONE: Well, when Topper asked you if you were a bear, you should’ve answered "Yes"!
FRED: Oh, my friends. Uncle has given us plenty of fun I’m sure, so it would be ungrateful of us, not to drink to his health. Uncle Scrooge!
ALL: Uncle Scrooge!
FRED: And-although he wouldn’t take a promise, he may have it nevertheless-our best wishes, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to the old man, whatever he is!
SCROOGE: Thank you, thank you. Thank you. I would just like to say to you all a very, very--
SPIRIT: Time is running out. We must move on. Take hold of my robe.
SCROOGE: I am exhausted. Let me rest, kind spirit. You have shown me so many people. People in their own, sick bed. Cheerful men and women in prisons and hospitals, in dreadful and miserable conditions. And all, all filled with some kind of joy because of Christmas. Because they have all changed. They’ve grown older, clearly, older.
SPIRIT: My time is almost up. My life ends tonight. Each stroke of the clock brings death nearer. Remember Scrooge all I have shown thee. Remember those who want. Remember the music. Remember Tiny Tim.
SCROOGE: Here is dark. And no more ghosts. AHHH!! Will you not speak to me? Are you the ghost of Christmas yet to come? Are you to show me the future? Are you to show me the course of events that will happen in my life? Is that so, spirit, ghost? I fear you more than any of the others. I know that you are here to do me good. And as I am ready to change my ways, I will go with you...then later on, later on. The night is nearly over. The time is precious to me. Then lead on. Lead on! Well, this is still London. I know this place. It’s the stock exchange. I’m usually standing over there.
MAN ONE: I don’t know that much about him either. I only know he’s dead. Old scratch is gone at last.
MAN TWO: When did he die?
MAN ONE: Last night, it seems.
MAN TWO: Why? What was wrong with him?
WOMAN: I thought he’d never die.
MAN TWO: What’s he done with all his money?
MAN ONE: I haven’t heard. Left it to his company, perhaps. Hasn’t left it to me, that’s all I know.
MAN TWO: Do you know, it’s likely to be a very cheap funeral, for upon my life I can’t think of anyone who would go. I suppose we could make up a party, a volunteer one.
MAN ONE: Oh, well I don’t mind going if there’s a lunch to be provided. Well, I will go if no one else will. You know, now that I come to think of it, I am most certain I was his best friend. Well, I used to stop and speak whenever we met. Cold, isn’t it?
OTHERS: Chilly, cold!!
MAN ONE: I say, you don’t skate, do you?
MAN TWO: No, don’t have the time.
MAN ONE: Oh, excuse me, I must dash, good morning to you!
OTHERS: Good morning! See you tomorrow.
SCROOGE: Someone died. Who was this poor, friendless man they were talking about?
NARRATOR: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come leads Scrooge to an obscure part of town, the streets were foul and narrow, the shops and houses damp and dirty. The people--stark naked, drunken, ugly, rough. The Ghost takes Scrooge into a low, ghastly smelling shop, where iron, old rags, bobbies, bowls and rancid cloths are full of oil and soot.
OLD JOE: We the beggars, getting the vultures together...
MRS. FULCH: Let the dead man’s char-woman go before me.
MRS. DILBER: Oh, very kind, I’m sure! And his laundress can be second!
OLD JOE: Yes, well, you couldn’t have come to a better place than Old Joe’s Rag and Bone Establishment.
MRS. FULCH: Well, what I say is, Mrs. D, that everyone has a right to look after number one. The dear departed didn’t know the stakes.
MRS. DILBER: Oh, you’re so right! No more draws so-well, come on, then! Don’t stand there staring! Let’s have a look at what you’ve got!
MRS. FULCH: We’re not gonna start picking out of one another’s pockets, are we?
MRS. DILBER: No, indeed!
MAN: I should hope not!
MRS. FULCH: No one’s the worse for the loss of a few things. Not a dead man, anyway!
MRS. DILBER: I should say not! If he wanted to keep any of his stuff after he was dead, the wicked old man, why wasn’t he nicer in his lifetime? He might have had someone to look after him, when death struck, instead of lying there, gasping his last breath, all by himself, sssssssss!
It was a Dutchman! I would have been a lot heavier judgement if I had gotten my hands on more of his stuff! Here, Joe, have a look at this lot, tell me what you think! I don’t mind going first. I don’t mind seeing. We both knew what we were getting into before we got here, I fancy. (mumbles) Well Joe?
OLD JOE: Here! That’s yours. And I wouldn’t offer you another sixpence if I was boiled in oil for doing so. And now for yours, my dear. And what would you call this? Bed curtains?
MRS. FULCH: They’re curtains.
OLD JOE: Do you mean to say you took them down rings and all while he was still lying there?
MRS. FULCH: Yes, I did. And what of it, I pray?
OLD JOE: You was born to make your fortune. (laughs)
MRS. FULCH: Well, if I don’t, people won’t put money in my hand! Now, how much for them blankets?
OLD JOE: His blankets?
MRS. FULCH: Well, he ain’t likely to catch a cold without ’em, is he?
OLD JOE: I hope he didn’t die of anything catching cold!
MRS. FULCH: No fear of that. I stopped cleaning for him long ago and there isn’t anything wrong with him.
MRS. DILBER: This is what all his meanness and scraping brought to him.
MRS. FULCH: Yes, he scared everyone away when he was alive, so we get back at him when he was dead!
SCROOGE: Poor man, poor man. This story might be my own. I see, I see, I see. Master in heaven, what is this? Who is this poor, friendless creature lying here? I want to watch over him, I want to mourn him. Cold, rigid, filled with death. If in life, you had been open, honest, tender and true, you would not now be alone, with no one to watch over you, no one to say, "He was kind to me, and for the memory of that kindness, I will be kind to him." This is a dreadful, frightening place, but I have learned the lesson, can we leave it please? I cannot let it go. Show me some tenderness connected with the death, or that frightful memory will forever follow me. Ay, this is the Cratchet’s house. But why is it so quiet? Why is there no laughter? Families always laugh at Christmas, don’t they?
MRS. CRATCHET: It’s the candlelight. They’re better now. It would never do for your father to see me like this. Must be near his time.
PETER: Past it, rather. But I think he’s walked slower than he used to these last evenings, mother.
MRS. CRATCHET: I’ve seen him walk very fast indeed with Tiny Tim in his arms
PETER: So have I often.
MRS. CRATCHET: But he was very light to carry, and his father loved him. It was no trouble, no trouble at all. There’s your father at the door.
CRATCHET: Good evening, Mrs. Cratchet.
MRS. CRATCHET: Oh, Robert.
CRATCHET: That is so beautiful. How busy you’ve been. And it will be finished long before Sunday.
MRS. CRATCHET: Sunday? You went today, Robert?
CRATCHET: Yes, my dear. But I wish you could’ve gone. It would have done you good to see how green a place it is. But we’ll see it soon enough. I promised him I would walk there all Sunday. My little child!
PETER: Please, father, oh please!
CRATCHET: (composing himself.) I must tell you both, just today I met Mr. Scrooge’s nephew, he was so kind. I had scarcely seen him, and he could see a looked a little-well, just a little down. I told him.
And he said, "I’m heartily sorry for it, Mr. Cratchet, and heartily sorry for your good wife. By golly how he knew that I do not know.
MRS. CRATCHET: Knew what my dear?
CRATCHET: Why, that you were a good wife.
PETER: Everybody knows that!
CRATCHET: "Heartlily sorry for your good wife, and if I can be of any service to you in any way", he said, "Let me know. That’s where I live, do please come to me." Not it wasn’t as if we needed anything, but I was so touched by his kind manner. It really seemed that he knew about Tiny Tim and shared in our loss.
MRS. CRATCHET: I’m sure he’s a good soul.
CRATCHET: Oh, you would have been sure of it my dear, if you had seen and spoken to him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised, mark what I say, if he found Peter a better situation.
MRS. CRATCHET: Oh! Did you hear that, Peter? Oh, but then Peter will be keeping company with someone, and then setting up home with them.
PETER: Get along with you!
CRATCHET: Well, it’s bound to happen one of these days, and there’s time enough for that. When the time for parting comes, I’m sure we won’t forget poor Tiny Tim., the first to leave us.
ALL: Never. never.
CRATCHET: I am very happy, I am very happy.
SCROOGE: Oh! Poor Cratchet. And now I see, it’s all my fault. I wish I had been kinder to Bob Cratchet. But Spirit, I don’t understand these other visions you have shown me. I don’t seem to be in any of them. What have they to do with me? And who was the man in the coffin?
NARRATOR: The Ghost doesn’t answer. Leads Scrooge on through the dark London streets until they reach an old iron gate.
SCROOGE: Where is this? (pause) Oh, it’s a graveyard. And alone, the name of the man in the coffin?
NARRATOR: It was a dark, forbidding place, walled in, overrun by tangled grass and weeds, dug up and dying, a fitting place. The ghost stood among the graves, and pointed down to one.
SCROOGE: Spirit, before I go down to that stone, answer me one question, are these the shadows of things that will be or are they the shadows of things that may be only? I...I...I have learned that how a man lives leads to the manner of his end, but if he realizes he is wrong and changes, surely you have to change the manner of his end. Tell me, tell me, kind spirit, that is what you are going to show me?
Ebenezer Scrooge! Am I the life in the coffin? No, no, kind Spirit! I am not the life I was, I will not be the man I must have been! Tell me that I may wash away these shadows that might change my life. I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year, I will live in the past, the present and the future! The spirits of all three shall be in me! Tell me, kind Spirit that I may wash away my name from this stone.
(Scrooge awakens in his bed.)
SCROOGE: Ahh!! ohh! (confused, still awakening) (looking around) These are my own bedposts! That’s my own bed! The chime before me is my own! I will live in the past, the present and the future. The spirits of all three shall rest in me. Oh, Jacob! Jacob Marley. Heaven and Christmas Time be praised for this. I’ll say it on my knees, Jacob. I am still here! The shadows of the future can be altered! I don’t know what to do. I would like to live! I am as merry as a school boy! I’m as happy as a drunken man! I don’t know what day it is, I don’t know how long I’ve been among the spirits. I don’t know anything! I don’t care!
NARRATOR: Scrooge was filled with excitement pondering all the good things he could do. He rushed down the road trying to dress himself in his Sunday best. And suddenly, he rushes over to the bedroom window opening to the busy London streets. He looks best.
SCROOGE: Oh, a bright new day! Sweet, fresh air! Glorious!
Oh! Hello, my fine fellow, what is the day?
BOY: What do you want?
SCROOGE: What is the day, my fine fellow?
BOY: Today? Why, it’s Christmas Day!
SCROOGE: It’s Christmas Day, oh I haven’t missed it! The spirits have done it all in one night! Well, they can do anything they want, of course they can! Hello, my fine fellow, hello!
BOY: Hello, again.
SCROOGE: Do you know the poultry shop, in the next street on the corner?
BOY: Of course, I do.
SCROOGE: An intelligent boy, a remarkable boy. Do you know if they’ve sold the prize turkey there? Not the little one but the big one?
BOY: You mean the really big one?
SCROOGE: Wonderful boy! It’s a pleasure to speak to him! Yes, that’s the one.
BOY: Well, it’s still hanging there.
SCROOGE: Go and buy it.
SCROOGE: No, I’m serious! Go and buy it and tell them to bring it here so I may tell them where to send it. Come back quickly and I’ll give you a shilling, come back within five minutes and I’ll give you two shillings.
BOY: Hooray! (Boy takes off.)
SCROOGE: I shall send the turkey to Tiny Tim. It is twice the size of Tiny Tim! It would be too expensive and too heavy for them to carry, they’d have to have a cab. And, I shall pay for it!
(Everyone exchanging "MERRY CHRISTMAS")
SCROOGE: A Merry Christmas to everyone!
(CAST sings "Hosanna in excelsis")
SCROOGE: Good day, Madam. How do you do? You came to my shop yesterday, I hope you were successful in your collection. A Merry Christmas!
LADY: Mr. Scrooge?!?
SCROOGE: Yes, that is my name. I’m afraid it may not be very pleasant to you. I ask you, would you have the goodness to accept a little contribution? (he whispers in the Lady’s ear how much)
LADY: Good gracious! Well, Mr. Scrooge, are you serious?
SCROOGE: Yes, absolutely. Not a penny less. A great many back payments are included in it, I assure you. Will you do me that honor?
LADY: Well, I don’t know what to say to such generosity!
SCROOGE: Well, don’t say anything, just please come and see me. You will come and see me?
LADY: Oh, yes, indeed, I will, I will. Thank you.
SCROOGE: Oh, thank you! I thank you a thousand times! Bless you!
FRED: Why Bless my soul, who’s this?
SCROOGE: It is I, your uncle Scrooge! I just wondered if I might come to dinner today, would that be alright?
FRED: Would it be alright? Uncle Scrooge, it would be wonderful! We’ve waited for years for you to come to us for dinner. We’ll have a wonderful, happy time!
SCROOGE: And we’ll play games. Can we play Blind Man’s Bluff? And Yes and No? And songs and dances?
FRED: Indeed we can, uncle! I’ll go tell Agnes.
SCROOGE: Where’s Bob Cratchet? Cratchet? Hello Cratchet.
SCROOGE: What do you mean by being here this late?
CRATCHET: I’m sorry, sir, I’m a bit behind time.
SCROOGE: A bit behind time? Yes, I would suggest that you are! Now step this way!
CRATCHET: Sir, you did say I could have the day off. I mean it is Christmas Day!
SCROOGE: I’ll tell you what, my friend, I am not going to put up with this any longer, and therefore...(pauses)...therefore, I am going to raise your salary!
SCROOGE: A Merry Christmas, Bob! A Merry Christmas, Bob, and a dear one! A merrier Christmas than I have given you for many years. I raise your salary, I’ll help you look out for your family, I should like to be second party to you. To be as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as this good old city knows, for any good old city, town, or borough...I know people will laugh at the change in me, but I don’t care, not now. It’s Christmas time, let’s have a party, let’s have the best Christmas Party there has ever been--at my expense!
(CAST sings "GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN")
NARRATOR: From that day unto this, it was always said that Ebenezer Scrooge knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man possessed the knowledge. May that truly be said....
SCROOGE: (Interrupting): Ladies and Gentlemen, will you raise your glasses and join me in this toast: May we all keep Christmas well-this year, next year, and every year. A Happy Christmas to all!
ALL: A Happy Christmas to all!
SCROOGE: And, as Tiny Tim said: (ALL: "God Bless Everyone")
(CAST sings "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", "Winter Song", and "Hosanna in Excelsis")