Author: Shepherd Knapp
Release Date: January 24, 2005 [EBook #14786]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK up the chimney ***
Produced by Robert Cicconetti, David Garcia and the
This play is intended, not only for acting, but also for reading. It is so arranged that boys and girls can read it to themselves, just as they would read any other story. Even the stage directions and the descriptions of scenery are presented as a part of the narrative. At the same time, by the use of different styles of type, the speeches of the characters are clearly distinguished from the rest of the text, an arrangement which will be found convenient when parts are being memorized for acting.
The play has been acted more than once, and by different groups of people; sometimes on a stage equipped with footlights, curtain, and scenery; sometimes with barely any of these aids. Practical suggestions as to costumes, scenery, and some simple scenic effects will be found at the end of the play.
What sort of a Christmas play do the boys and girls like, and in what sort do we like to see them take part? It should be a play, surely, in which the dialogue is simple and natural, not stilted and artificial; one that seems like a bit of real life, and yet has plenty of fancy and imagination in it; one that suggests and helps to perpetuate some of the happy and wholesome customs of Christmas; above all, one that is pervaded by the Christmas spirit. I hope that this play does not entirely fail to meet these requirements.
Before the curtain opens, mother goose comes out, and this is what she says:
Good evening, dear children. I see you are all expecting me to show you a Christmas Play. Well, I have one ready, sure enough. And now let me see, what shall I tell you about it? For one thing it will take place on Christmas Eve, and then it will be all about Christmas, of course. The first scene will be in the house, where a little girl and a little boy live, with their father, who is a doctor, and their mother. It is evening and the weather is very cold outside. The little girl and boy are writing letters—can you guess to whom they are writing?—and the mother is knitting, and the father is reading his newspaper; as you will see in a moment for yourselves. So be very quiet, for now it is going to begin.