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Dr. Herbert’s Children’s Christmas Band A 3-act play about the mystery of Christmas. Birthed in Indianapolis, Indiana

By Richard J. Ganahl III Copyright Christmas 2007


Background This is a 3-act play about the mystery of Christmas. Victoria is an 80 years old grandmother who lost her father Dr. Herbert just one week before Christmas when she was 6 years old. The sadness of that long ago Christmas was magically healed through a Christmas Eve mystery visitor to the grieving girl. Victoria plans to share this Christmas mystery with her sometimesunbelieving grandchildren during her annual Christmas Eve family party. But the cynicism of her own daughter Regina and her much too mature grandson Trevor threatens Victoria’s longstanding Christmas mystery tradition for her young and believing granddaughter Irene.

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Setting The play opens in the present on a snowy Christmas Eve afternoon in Regina’s upper eastside Manhattan apartment on Park Avenue, just an hour by train from Victoria’s Center City brownstone apartment in Philadelphia. The apartment is decorated with a few, very modern Christmas decorations including strings of blue lights and a rotating, metallic Christmas tree harshly lit by a revolving color wheel. Regina is fashionably dressed in a black and white dress with large and colorful modern Christmas earrings. She is packing and tidying the apartment as she quickly paces through the apartment kitchen. Her highly polished black heels click loudly on the apartment’s white tiled floor as she animatedly talks on the cell phone with her television producer. The family’s many travel bags are stacked by the door. Husband Quentin is lounging in a very modern leather chair. He is dressed in a thickly starched, white business shirt and a loosely knotted holiday tie. He intently reads The New York Times while shuffling through papers on a side table. Their two children are upstairs loudly packing for their Christmas Eve trip to grandma Victoria’s house. The 13 year-old Trevor has just returned home for the holidays from his up-state private boys boarding school. Seven year-old Irene is still dressed in her Catholic school uniform. The family is busy preparing for the train that will take them to grandma’s apartment where they will spend a very traditional Christmas Eve. Nana has promised the family a magical night filled with holiday mysteries.

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ACT ONE: SCENE ONE REGINA: (HURRIES THROUGH APARTMENT TALKING ON CELL PHONE) “Well, Grant, what a huge surprise, and a merry Christmas to you too! QUENTIN: (THUMBING THROUGH HIS NEWSPAPEAR SEEMS GENUINELY SURPRISED AT SOMETHING HE HAS JUST READ. HE PICKS UP CELL PHONE AND DIALS.) “Hello.” REGINA: (STILL TIDYING AS SHE WALKS QUICKLY THROUGH THE APARTMENT) “But, Grant, don’t you remember your promise? (A BIT TEASINGLY) “No more Christmas Eve shows at least 2 years! And, this is only the first year!!” QUENTIN: (LOUDLY FINISHES PUNCHING IN THE CELL NUMBERS) “Hello… hello…Mr. Quigley? Hello, Quentin here…sorry, but the our connection is a bit fuzzy.” REGINA: (WALKING QUICKLY THROUGH THE APARTMENT WITH DETERMINATION) “Certainly I’m sorry to hear Angela is deathly (STRETCHES WORD MOCKINGLY) sick with this year’s flu variation, but I simply can’t do tonight’s show. And besides, remember my holiday dress? (GENUINELY LAUGHING) It was ruined by that monkey-in-the-elf-suit who had an accident while singing Jingle Bells seated on my lap!” QUENTIN: (HOLDING CELL TO EAR WITH SHOULDER AS HE WRITES WITH ONE HAND AND REACHES FOR PAPER WITH THE OTHER HAND) “Mr. Quigley, Quentin here. I want to wish you a very merry holiday…AND express my surprise and sorrow about your financial situation SO rudely detailed in this morning’s paper.”

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REGINA: (STILL WALAKING QUICKLY) “Oh, Grant…flattery is fine and the extra bonus is tempting. I REALLY want to do the show, REALLY, but we must go to Mom’s today. She made me promise that nothing would keep us away. She is soooo excited about tonight, I can’t believe it!” QUENTIN: (SITS UP EXCITEDLY) “Mr. Quigley, if I may…perhaps I can help. Please, tell all about it.” IRENE: (OFFSTAGE RIGHT WITH MUCH FEELING) “Mommy, Trevor has hid my Christmas night shirt. The red one, remember? And, he won’t give it back!” REGINA: (STARTING TO SHOW SIGNS OF FLUSTER) “One minute, Grant, please.” (COVERS PHONE) “Trevor! Trevor, give Irene her red Christmas shirt… PLEASE! You know, the one…” (SAYS PLEASE WITH MUCH ROLLLING AFFECTION). IRENE: (QUICKLY FOLLOWING REGINA FROM OFFSTAGE RT) “the one with Rudolph the reindeer’s …” REGINA: (QUICKLY FOLLOWING IRENE IN PERFECT PARODY OF IRENE’S VOICE): “the reindeer’s blinking nose on the front. PLEASE! (SAYS PLEASE WITH ROLLING TONE). QUENTIN: (SILENTLY GRIMACES WITH TWISTED FACE TO REGINA) “Quiet…Please!!!” TREVOR: (OFFSTAGE RIGHT A BIT MOCKINGLY AND TEASINGLY) “I don’t know where it is. Besides, she is too old to wear a red Christmas nightshirt with a blinking red nose on the front! She’s already packing too much Christmas stuff anyways.”

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IRENE: (OFFSTAGE WITH GENUINE FEELING) “I am not too old to wear my red Christmas night shirt. And besides, Nana gave it to me, and SHE WANTS me to wear the nightshirt tonight. So there!” QUENTIN: (SILENTLY BEGS FOR QUIET) “I’m not exactly sure at the moment, Mr. Quigley. But certainly, if I’m going to be able to help you (insistently) we must talk, and talk soon.” REGINA: (AWKARDLY ROLLS TRAVEL CASE TO DOOR) “Nowwwww, Grant, I know firsthand it will take much longer than the show’s scheduled two hours… there is makeup, rehearsal, guest preps…it will take most of the afternoon and the evening. And besides, this may be Irene’s last year.” (HOLDS PHONE AWAY AS SHE LISTENS TO GRANT LAUGHING) “No, silly, she is not sick and she is not going anywhere. But, it may be the last year she” (LOOKS OVER BOTH SHOULDERS THEN MUCH QUIETER) “B…E…L…I…E…V…E…S… comprendez-vous, monsieur Grant?” QUENTIN: (SUDDENLY SURPRISED AND BEFUDDLED) “Ahhhh, today you say, Mr. Quigley, today? (AFTER A SHORT PAUSE AND BIT MORE FLUSTERED) “Ahhh, I know I suggested soon, but are you sure about today? Don’t you have some kind of plans today?” (QUENTIN LOOKS PLEADINGLY AT REGINA) “Well sure…sure…I could check with Regina and see if we have any plans for today…(VERY HESITANTLY) I guess.” TREVOR: (DANCES ACROSS STAGE FROM LC WEARING REINDEER ANTLERS AND IRENE’S RED C-MAS NIGHT SHIRT WITH FLASHING RED NOSE SINGING ANIMATEDLY) “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer…” BOTH PARENTS STRUGGLE TO CONTROL THEIR LAUGHTER

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TREVOR: (CONTINUES IN OVER-ANIMATED VOICE: “had a very shiny nose…” IRENE: (STILL DRESSED IN SCHOOL UNIFORM RUNS ON STAGE FROM LC AND CHASES TREVOR) “See, Mom. I told you he had my nightshirt with the blinking red nose. Tell him to give it back. PLEASE!” (USES SAME TONE AS MOM) “Give it back now, Trevor!” REGINA: (LAUGHING BUT GROWING FRUSTRATED) “Please, Grant, just one moment.” (PLACES HAND OVER CELL PHONE) “Trevor! Please! Your father and I are on the phone. Take that ridiculous outfit off and give it back to your sister now! PLEASE, Trevor.” IRENE: (QUICKLY ANSWERS WITH INDIGNANCY) ‘It is NOT a ridiculous outfit! And besides, Nana gave it to me. REGINA: (REASSURINGLY) “I know, dear. I know.” TREVOR: (CONTINUES DANCING AND SILENTLY PARODIES SISTER) QUENTIN: (ALMOST SHEEPISHLY) “Ahhhhh sure, Mr. Quigley, one moment and I’ll ask my wife. Regina…” (RISES SLOWLY AS HE PUTS HAND OVER CELL PHONE AND AKWARDLY GESTERS FOR REGINA’S HELP) REGINA: (SMILES WITH MOCKING TONE OF AUTHORITY) “Now, Mr. Quentin, don’t you be ridiculous. YOU started that insane rescue operation with Mr. Quigley, and YOU must finish it…NOW.” IRENE: (BEGINNING TO ENJOY HER CHASING GAME WITH TREVOR) “Mom! Please tell Trevor to stop!”

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REGINA: (WITH GROWING FRUSTRATION LOOKS FIRST AT DANCING TREVOR AND THEN AT PLEADING QUENTIN) “ Both of you…stop…now. PLEASE!” (USES MOTHER’S TONE) IRENE: (STOPS CENTER STAGE, FOLDS ARMS IN SIGN OF VICTORY AS SHE LOOKS DISSAPROVINGLY AT TREVOR AND THEN QUENTIN) TREVOR: (STOPS AND RETREATS SHEEPISHLY NEXT TO QUENTIN) “Ohhh, I don’t want to celebrate silly Christmas at Nana’s house anyway.” QUENTIN: (VERY HESITANTLY) “Ahhhhh, Mr. Quigley, I understand how troubled you must be right now…really, I do understand, really. Let me check my schedule and see what looks…today, you say, later today? Well…” REGINA: (SHAKES HER HEAD IN BEWILDERMENT AT QUENTIN): “Hello, Grant. No…I didn’t forget you.” (LAUGHING) It’s just that things are a bit hectic right now. Our train leaves in” (REGINA LOOKS AT WATCH) “just 55 minutes!! Grant (GENUINE PANIC IS SETTING IN) “there is still so much to do before we leave. I’m sorry but I must insist…NO.” QUENTIN: (OBVIOUSLY STRUGGLING) “Twenty minutes you say? Well, OK…I can check and call you back. OK? Sure.” (QUENTIN ENDS CALL AND LOOKS TO SKY IN DISBELIEF) REGINA: (WITH REAL EXCITEMENT) “But, Grant, it just wouldn’t be right. Mom plans so much for Christmas Eve and she gets so excited. It means so much to her, and” (GRANT OBVIOUSLY INTERRUPTS REGINA) “Well, yes, she is very proud of my work, and now she gets my shows on satellite and” (REGINA BEGINS TO SOFTEN) “and certainly it will be dreadful traveling today.” (GRANT INTERRUPTS AGAIN) “And yes, tomorrow’s travel will be much better.” (GRANT

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SAYS SOMETHING) “Well, I suppose I could talk with Quentin” (LOOKS AT QUENTIN WHO NODS IN AGREEMENT). IRENE: (OFF STAGE LOUD AND WITH REAL HURT) “Mom! Trevor is making fun of Nana again! And, he’s wearing that terrible Christmas shirt that he uses to tease Nana.” TREVOR: (MOCKINGLY) “I am not, you silly elf!” REGINA: (LOOKS OFF STAGE TOWARD VOICES AND SMILINGLY SHAKES HER HEAD) “Well alright, Grant. Let me talk with Quentin and the kids” (SAYS WITH REAL DREAD) “and then…Mom. And who know, maybe…” IRENE: (OFFSTAGE LOUDER THIS TIME) “Mom! Tell Trevor to stop! PLEASE!” (USES REGINA’S TONE FOR PLEASE) TREVOR: (OFFSTAGE AND LOUDER) “I’m not doing anything, Mom. Really!” REGINA: (LOOKS OFFSTAGE PERTURBED) “Listen, Grant, let’s talk later. Can I call you back, in say 10 minutes? Yes, I will. I promise. OK? Thanks, you’re the best, Grant!” (SHUTS CELL PHONE WITH FLARE) QUENTIN: (LOOKS AT REGINA WITH BIG SMILE, STRETCHES ARMS OUT AND WALKS LOVINGLY TO CENTER) “Ahhhhh, honey…” REGINA: (LOOKS AT QUENTIN, SMILES LOVINGLY, STRETCHES ARMS OUT AND WALKS LOVINGLY TO CENTER) “Ahhhhh, honey…” REGINA AND QUENTIN: (EMBRACE ENTHUSIASTICALLY AND KISS LOVINGLY. REGINA LIFTS RIGHT LEG OFF GROUND TO 900 THEN BOTH SAY) “Ah, Merry Christmas, honey!”

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QUENTIN: (THE TWO SEPARATE, BUT HOLD HANDS WITH ARMS THAT ARE OUTSTRETCHED AS THEY LEAN BACK) “Oh, honey, I know it’s hard, but this just may not be the year. I mean the weather is awful.” REGINA: (NESTLES HER BACK INTO QUENTIN’S ARMS. THE TWO EMBRACE AT CENTER AND SWAY BACK AND FORTH AS THEY LOOK AT AUDIENCE) “I know, honey. But, I’m worried about Mom. Christmas Eve has always meant so much to her.” QUENTIN: (GENTLY INTERRUPTS AND LOVINGLY PECKS REGINA ON RIGHT EAR) “But, honey, she’ll understand. I promise.” REGINA: (CONTINUES DREAMINGLY AS IF SHE DIDN’T HEAR QUENTIN) “Ever since she was a very little girl, each Christmas Eve has been so special for her…almost magical and so mysterious. I think…” QUENTIN: (GENTLY INTERRUPTS AGAIN AND LOVINGLY PECKS REGINA ON LEFT EAR) “But, honey, maybe she needs some quality alone time this year to reflect on the meaning of the season.’ REGINA: (STILL SWAYING IN QUENTIN’S ARMS) “I think it may have something to do with her father, my grandfather, Dr. Herbert. You know he was a children’s doctor?” QUENTIN: (STILL SOFTLY, STILL SWAYING, STILL GENTLY PERSUADING) “Oh, honey, we could leave early, very early in the morning, and be there first thing Christmas day. You know, surprise her, with the kids and the gifts!” REGINA: (STILL SWAYING DREAMINGLY WITHOUT SEEMING TO HEAR QUENTIN) “Mom says he had such a beautiful voice. It’s so sad really. Her father…my grandfather…the children’s doctor, passing at such a young age, and

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Mom such a young girl…Irene’s age, really, when he passed during the Christmas season.” QUENTIN: (STILL SWAYING, LEANS AROUND AND PECKS REGINA ON FOREHEAD, APPARENTLY HAVING HEARD NOTHING) “Oh, honey, then it’s settled. I’ll call Mr. Quigley, you call Grant…you tell the children…” (WITH VERY APPREHENSIVE PAUSE) “and then, you can call your Mom…just explain it to her, you know? I know she will understand, really.” IRENE: (RUNS FROM LC TO CENTER IN FRONT OF EMBRACING PARENTS, STRETCHES OUT BOTH ARMS AND IN LOUD VOICE WITH ALARM) “Yuckkkk! Mom…Dad…(IN REGINA’S TONE) PLEASE…STOP…Trevor, NOW!” REGINA AND QUENTIN: (STARTLED LOOK AT EACH OTHER, SMILE, GENTLY LAUGH AND LEAN OVER AND EMBRACE IRENE IN A LOVING FAMILY CIRCLE) “Treeeeeeevvvvvvvvooooorrrrrrrr!” TREVOR: (DRAMATICALLY ENTERS RC WITH LONG, DRAMATIC OPERATIC DANCE STEPS SINGING) “ Taaaa Laaaa Laaaa Boombeeeaaay!!” (THEN JUMPS INTO FRENETIC JAZZ-STYLE STATACO STEPS AS HE SINGS LOUD AND ANIMITADELY) “Grandma got run over by a…” (THEN JUMPS HALF CIRCLE CENTER STAGE TO SHOW BACK OF T-SHIRT) “Your Choice!” (TREVOR IS DRESSED IN WILD COMBINATION OF VERY COLORFUL AND GARISH HOLIDAY MISH-MASH COVERED BY OVER-SIZED BRIGHT RED TSHIRT THAT HAS “GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A:” PRINTED IN LARGE WHITE LETTERS ON FRONT. PRINTED ON BACK IN LARGE WHITE LETTERS IS “YOUR CHOICE: _ SKIDDING SLEIGH, _ BLIND DEER, _FAT ELF. TREVOR FINISHES WITH DRAMATIC, DEEP BOW IN FRONT OF EMBRACING FAMILY). IRENE, REGINA AND QUENTIN: (IN GOOD-NATURED LOUD DISMAY)

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“Treeeeeeevvvvvvvvooooorrrrrrrr!” IRENE: (MOVES QUICKLY TO UR WHILE PARENTS CONTINUE TO HOLD EACH OTHER AND SWAY WHILE TREVOR MOVES AROUND SLOWLY AND MAJESTICALLY AS HE TAKES SEVERAL DEEP BOWS) “See what I mean, Mom? He’s making fun of Nana AND Christmas! Tell him to stop…PLEASE!” REGINA: (WITH MOTHERLY COMPASSION STILL SWAYING IN QUENTIN’S ARMS) “Trevor…cool it…now! PLEASE! Be gentle with your sister Irene. And remember” (WITH LONG DRAWN WARNING) “Santa is watching!” IRENE: (TURNS TO FAMILY FROM UR, FOLDS ARMS DEFIANTLY, AND STARES DEEPLY AT TREVOR) “Seeee, Trevor! I told you Santa is watching.” TREVOR: (A BIT DEJECTED BUT STILL VERY PLAYFUL AS HE WALKS TO UL) “Oh, girls…sure he is!! Oh come on, Mom. I’m just having some fun. Besides, it’s snowing too hard to go to Nana’s today. Let’s celebrate Christmas here!” IRENE: (WALKS DETERMINEDLY FURTHER UR) “NO way, Trevor! We are going to Nana’s house…today…for Christmas Eve!” TREVOR: (WALKS FURTHER TO UL) “Oh come on, Mom. Give us a break. I still haven’t unpacked my things from school. Let’s go later…PLEASE?!” IRENE: (EMPHATICALLY) “Mommmmm…we are going…today…right?!” TREVOR: (JUST AS EMPHATICALLY) “Mommmmm…let’s stay…PLEASE?!” REGINA AND QUENTIN: (HUG, SMILE THEN REGINA WALKS TO CENTER) “Come on, kids” (STRETCHES ARMS OUT TO BOTH) “I understand the

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holidays can be tough…and demanding. And, sometimes we must make hard choices” (LOOKS AT IRENE WHO FOLDS ARMS TIGHTER AND MORE DEFIANTLY) “and it’s not always easy…or fair.” QUENTIN: (WALKS TO UC, JOINS REGINA AND SAYS WITH OVERSTATED FATHERLY UNDERSTANDING) “Mom is right, kids…it’s not always easy… making choices, that is. Like today, Christmas Eve and Nana’s…and choosing between going” (IRENE DEEPLY SHAKES HEAD YES) “or staying.” (TREVOR DEEPLY SHAKES HEAD NO) IRENE: (STOMPS RIGHT FOOT LOUDLY) “I’m going!” TREVOR: (STOMPS RIGHT FOOT LOUDLY) “I’m staying!” REGINA: (MOTIONS TO BOTH CHILDREN TO JOIN HER, BUT CHILDREN DEFIANTLY STAY IN PLACE) “Irene…Trevor…it’s the holidays. Let’s talk… PLEASE! QUENTIN: (MOVES CLOSER TO REGINA AND NODS HEAD IN SUPPORT) “Mom’s right, kids. Let’s talk.” REGINA: (LOOKS AT IRENE AND TALKS DIRECTLY TO HER IN WARM, LOVING VOICE) “Irene, I know how much you want to see Nana tonight…on Christmas Eve. And, I know how much she wants to see you. Christmas means so much to you…and so much to Nana” (THEN SAYS AS IF SHE ALMOST FORGOT) “and to your dad and I…also…of course!” But, please understand, sometimes we…” IRENE: (DEFIANTLY STOMPS RIGHT FOOT LOUDLY TWICE AND INTERRUPTS REGINA) “I…am…going!” (WALKS OFF STAGE CR)

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REGINA: (LOOKS TO AUDIENCE FOR UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT, THEN STEPS TOWARD CR AND CONTINUES WITH SENTENCE) “but sometimes things are beyond our control…things get in our way…things force us to make choices we don’t completely agree with.” TREVOR AND QUENTIN: (LOOK AT EACH OTHER AND SHAKE HEADS YES IN AGREEMENT) REGINA: (CONTINUES) “Like your father. He helps people with their money problems. His client” (LOOKS TO QUENTIN FOR HELP WHO MOUTHS WITH MUCH EXAGGATION “MR. QUIGLEY!”) “ahhhhh…Mr. Quigley…is in real trouble… right now, and he need’s your dad’s help, right now…today…on Christmas Eve. And, Daddy WANTS to help him” (QUENTING DEEPLY NODS YES) “Daddy MUST help him…today.” IRENE: (ENTERS FROM CR WHEN REGINA STARTS TALKING ROLLING OVERSTUFFED LUGGAGE AND BACK PACK AND PUTS BY DOOR AT CL. SHE CONTINUES CARRYING BAGS TO DOOR AS REGINA CONTINUES TO TALK. FINALLY SHE STOPS BY LUGGAGE AND WIPES FOREHEAD” “Whew! Let’s see now” (LOOKS OVER LUGGAGE) “snow boots, Christmas night shirt, Christmas videos, Christmas carol CD’s, my Game Girl, the family’s copy of “Night Before Christmas,” and (WITH SMILING WHISPER) “my private girl things!” (LOOKS AT PARENTS AND TREVOR AS SHE SLOWLY AND DEFIANTLY WALKS OFFSTAGE CR) “) “I…am…going!” TREVOR, REGINA AND QUENTIN: (LOOK PERPLEXLINGLY AT EACH OTHER, SHRUG SHOULDERS IN BEWILDERMENT AS QUENTIN HOLDS UP FINGER INDICATING IT’S HIS TURN TO TALK TO IRENE. HE LOOKS TO OTHERS FOR SUPPORT THEN WALKS TO CR) “Oh, honey, I understand how you feel…really I do. But, your Mother is right…sometimes things get in our way and we simply make choices that at the time we don’t fully agree with.”

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“Like you Mother, who helps people by informing and entertaining them when they are lonely and need company. She talks to them through the television. Mr. Grant, her producer, needs your Mommy…right now…today…Christmas Eve… to help ALL New York City celebrate Christmas.” (REGINA LOOKS TO FAMILY AND THEN TO AUDIENCE AND SILENTLY SAYS “I DO?”) “Mommy must help the city…and…Nana can celebrate Christmas Eve with us…and Mommy…live… on her satellite TV!” IRENE: (ENTERS FROM CR ROLLING ANOTHER OVERSTUFFED CARRYON WHILE WEARING HER OVERSTUFFED KNAPSACK AS SHE CROSSES DOWNSTAGE IN FRONT OF PARENTS AND STOPS AND UNLOADS BAGS AT CL THEN WIPES FOREHEAD) “Whew! Let’s see now…Christmas presents, cookies for Santa and the family, reindeer food, Christmas books, Christmas games, this year’s Christmas tree ornament for Nana, the Nativity set I made at school, and” (WITH SMILING WHISPER) “my private girl things!” (LOOKS AT PARENTS AND TREVOR AS SHE SLOWLY AND DEFIANTLY WALKS OFFSTAGE CR) “) “I…am…going!” TREVOR, REGINA & QUENTIN: (LOOK PERPLEXLINGLY AT EACH OTHER, SHRUG SHOULDERS IN BEWILDERMENT AS TREVOR HOLDS UP FINGER INDICATING IT’S HIS TURN TO TALK TO IRENE. HE LOOKS TO OTHERS FOR SUPPORT THEN WALKS TO CR) “Ahhhhh, sis, I understand how you feel, I really do…really! But, mother and father are right, and we know it. Sometimes we kids, well, most times, we kids must do things we don’t understand. But, we do it for our OWN good over the long run…even when we don’t know why.” “I know, sis, that I’ve been hard on you, too hard sometimes, actually most of the time! But hey, sis, I’m going to change…right now…today…on Christmas Eve… for you I’m going to become the big brother you deserve.” (REGINA AND QUENTIN LOOK AT EACH OTHER SURPRISED AND SILENTLY ASK ‘HE IS?’)

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“We need our rest today, before Christmas Day. We are both tired from school. Let’s rest today…let Nana rest today…then we’ll surprise her Christmas morning, OK?” IRENE: (ENTERS FROM CR ROLLING YET ANOTHER CARRY-ON AND CARRYING HER VIOLIN KNAPSACK STYLE. SHE REACHES CL WHILE TREVOR IS STILL TALKING, SETS BAGS DOWN AND WIPES HER BROW) “Whew!! Let’s see now…my homework, my drawing things, my voice-protected, electronically-locked diary, my favorite Christmas bears, several dolls from the Christmas around the world collection Nana started for me when I was young, my violin” (WITH SMILING WHISPER) “and my VERY favorite private girl things!” (LOOKS AT PARENTS AND TREVOR AS SHE SLOWLY AND DEFIANTLY WALKS OFFSTAGE CR) “) “I…am…going!” (IRENE WALKS SLOWLY AND EXPECTANTLY AND IMPORTANTLY TO CENTER STAGE, LOOKS AT FAMILY THEN TURNS BACK ON THEM AND TALKS DIRECTLY TO THE AUDIENCE) “Ahhhhh Mom, Dad, and Trevor…I understand how you feel, really, I do…and I understand we must make choices that we don’t fully agree with…really, I do. I understand that helping people is really important, and that sometimes we must do things for our own good…even if we don’t know at the moment that they are for our own good, really, I do.” “But, tonight is Christmas Eve and tomorrow is Christmas Day. This is a very special time that comes only once a year when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday and our family’s traditions. Right now, Nana is really excited and she is getting ready to celebrate these traditions, and she has promised to share a very secrete Christmas mystery with us…her family…and we should be excited too…and we should be getting ready to go…we promised her.”

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“And besides, Santa is coming tonight, and I told him I’d be at Nana’s house. And, if I’m not there he won’t know where to look for me! I…am…going…really! Will you come with me? PLEASE?!?” TREVOR, REGINA & QUENTIN: (LOOK AT EACH OTHER, SHRUG SHOULDERS AND SIGH DEEPLY. TREVOR WALKS TO IRENE AND PUTS ARM AROUND IRENE) “Ahhhhh, sis, I hate to admit it, but your are right… absolutely” (IRENE SMILES BROADLY) “BUT just this one time!” REGINA AND QUENTIN: (EXCITEDLY) “Quick everyone! Let’s hurry or we’ll miss our train!” (FAMILY JUMPS WITH EAGERNESS AS PARENTS FRANATICALLY START DIALING THEIR CELL PHONES. A VERY MODERN AND JAZZY CHRISTMAS MELODY COMES UP LOUDER AS LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK)

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ACT ONE: SCENE TWO: SETTING It is now a very snowy early Christmas Eve in Philadelphia. The family has just arrived by cab all snow covered at Nana’s (Victoria’s) brownstone apartment in Center City, Philadelphia’s historical downtown. The train trip was packed with NYC revelers on their way home following the much talked about Christmas Evening office parties. Nana’s apartment is completely decorated in traditional holiday decorations, quite a contrast to Regina’s ultra-modern, holiday-decorated Manhattan apartment. A roaring fire greets the tired and weather-beaten family as they literally drag their much-too many bags of luggage into the warm apartment. Nat King Cole’s “Christmas Song” can be heard upon entering. Other traditional holiday songs follow. The aromas of pine trees, holiday potpourri and berry-scented candles fill the very warm, fire-lit apartment. Many family pictures, including Nana’s childhood home and pictures of her mother Ruth and father Dr. Herbert, hang throughout the apartment. Christmas dolls from around the world are carefully placed everywhere. Thick, luxuriant pine boughs festooned with deep, burgundy holiday bows and holiday lights are looped throughout the apartment. Angels, holiday bells, flying reindeer-pulled sleighs and other expensive and antique decorations dangle from the ceiling. A thick spray of mistletoe hangs directly inside the door. A tall, richly decorated, freshly-cut Pennsylvania pine is the apartment’s visual center. Many brightly wrapped gifts surround the tree. Deeply cushioned chairs and sofas offer comfort to the travel-worn family. Nana is an active, attractive, gay-mannered senior. She is wearing a very fashionable but traditional holiday dress. Her many jewelry pieces flash brightly on the ceiling and walls as they reflect the dazzling light from the almost toomany holiday candles and lights. She smiles always, laughs often and warmly welcomes all. Often she spontaneously breaks into beautiful songs, inviting others to join. Simply put, she is great fun to be with and loves making merry.

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ACT ONE: SCENE TWO SCENE OPENS in Victoria’s Center City apartment. A pile of snow-covered luggage sits SR outside the door and we can hear the slow thumping of a large piece of luggage being dragged upstairs. Each loud thump is followed by Quentin’s very strained “Ugggg” as he pulls the piece to the next step. The family arrives all snow covered. Irene is the most fresh of the lot, almost bouncing into the apartment. VICTORIA (SINGS IN CHEERFUL VOICE AS SHE MAKES LAST MINUTE ROOM ADJUSTMENTS) “You better watch out, you better not pout, Santaaaa Claussss is coming to Town!” IRENE: (EXCITEDLY RINGS BELL) “Nana! Nana! We’re here, Nana! Nana!” VICTORIA: (EXCITEDLY RUSHES TO DOOR) “Irene! I’m coming, dear!” (NANA UNLOCKS THEN OPENS DOOR, PAUSES JUST A SECOND AS SHE LOOKS LOVINGLY AT IRENE THEN WHOLE FAMILY. SHE STRETCHES ARMS WIDE) “Merry Christmas, everyone! Merry Christmas!” TREVOR, REGINA & QUENTIN: (QUENTIN IS OFF STAGE AS ALL ANSWER IN VERY TIRED VOICES) “And Merry Christmas to you too, Nana.” IRENE: (EXCITEDLY RUNS FROM SR INTO NANA’S ARMS AND LOOKS UP TO THE MISSLETOE, SMILES THEN HUGS AND KISSES NANA) “Oh, Nana… Merry Christmas to you, Nana! Merry Christmas!” NANA & IRENE: (HAPPILY HUG AND DANCE SHORT TWIRLING JIG WHILE SINGING) “I wish you a Merry Christmas! I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!” (HUG AND LAUGH AS REST OF FAMILY SHAKE HEADS WONDERING WHERE THEY GET THEIR ENERGY)

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IRENE: (STEPS TO CS, MESMERIZED BY THE APARTMENT’S GLITTERING BEAUTY) “Oh, Nana, I love the smell of your home.” (IRENE TAKES DEEP BREATH) “It smells so beautiful! I’ll always remember this pretty smell! Your home looks just like Christmas, Nana!” NANA: (GENUINELY) “Thank you, child. Thank you. Regina, Trevor come in, please, come in! You look so cold and tired.” (STICKS HEAD OUT DOOR) “Regina, where is Quentin?” REGINA: (TAKES OFF COAT AND SAYS TIREDLY) “He’s coming, Mom. Can you believe the elevator is broke?” (RUBS HANDS TOGETHER AS SHE WARMS SELF BY THE FIRE THEN TAKES LONG LOOK AT THE TREE) QUENTIN: (ALMOST GASPING AS THE LAST THUDS OF LUGGAGE ARE HEARD) “I’m coming, Mom…just a few more (THUD) steps!” (STANDS JUST OUTSIDE DOOR ALMOST READY TO FALL) “Merry Christmas, Mom…you look great!” NANA: (LEADING QUENTIN INTO APARTMENT UNDER MISTLETOE THEN PECKS HIM LIGHTLY ON THE CHEEK) “Merry Christmas! Come in, Quentin, come in. You look…(SLOWLY LOOKS QUENTIN UP AND DOWN) QUENTIN & NANA: (TOGETHER WITH FEELING) “Tired!!!” QUENTIN: (WALKING INTO ROOM TOWARD FIRE AS NANA TAKES HIS COAT) “I know, Mom…it was a verrrrrry slow train to Philly.” NANA: “Oh, that’s a shame, Quentin, that’s a shame. Here, do help me with the luggage, dear. PLEASE!!!” (SAME TONE AS REGINA SAYS PLEASE)

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TREVOR: (LOOKS FROM COOKIE TRAY AS HE QUICKLY EATS ANOTHER COOKIE): “Yes, Mam!” (SALUTES NANA) “Fifteen pieces of luggage being delivered to the guest rooms. Right away, Mam! (CARRIES BAGS OFF CL) NANA: (LEADS QUENTIN TO CHAIR BY FIRE) “Here, Quentin dear. Warm yourself by the fire and drink this…it will warm you up a bit!” (NANA SLOWLY POURS QUENTIN A BRANDY INTO A GLITTERING GLASS) QUENTIN: (SLOWLY EASES INTO LEATHER CHAIR IN COMPLETE RELIEF) “Thank you, Nana, thank you. I’ll be fine in just a minute. Really.” IRENE: (RUNS AND HUGS NANA) “Oh, Nana, I’m so happy to see you. Merry Christmas, Nana!” NANA: (HUGS BACK) “Oh, dear, and I’m so happy to see you! (LOOKS AT REGINA) “Regina dear, how was the trip?” REGINA: (GETS COOKIE FROM TABLE AND WALKS TO NANA) “Mom, PLEASE remind us next year NOT to take the train out of Manhattan on Christmas Eve morning, afternoon or evening. It was…” QUENTIN: (TAKES A LONG SIP OF HIS BRANDY) “Dreadful, Mom, simply dreadful. The parties just moved from the office to the train …liquor and all. Why one man…” TREVOR: (ENTERS UL GOES TO COOKIE TRAY) “Insisted on singing Christmas carols about Jesus, Mary and Joseph while another man insisted the train” (TALKS AND ACTS LIKE DRUNKEN MAN) “is a public place and religious symbols and songs are strictly forbidden!” (POINTS FINGER STRAIGHT INTO AIR FOR EMPHASIS THEN FALL IN CHAIR AS IF PASSED OUT)

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TREVOR: (CONTINUES AS HE SITS UP) “The man singing religious songs then says…” (READY TO START CURSING) REGINA: (INTERRUPTS QUICKLY) “…some very un-religious words. It continued for some time until Irene stood straight up on her seat” (STARTS LAUGHING AS SHE REMEMBERS DETAILS) “and starts singing…” IRENE: (STANDS ON DINING ROOM CHAIR AND STARTS SINGING VERY ANIMATEDLY) “dashing through the snow…in a one horse open sleigh…o’re the fields we go…laughing all the way…ohhhh…” (HOLDS NOTE AND MOTIONS FAMILY TO JOIN HER) IRENE AND NANA: (NANA QUICKLY MOVES TO IRENE AND HUGS HER AS BOTH SING ENTHUSIASTICALLY) “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…jingle all the way!” (NANA MOTIONS TO REST OF FAMILY AND AUDIENCE TO JOIN IN) “Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh…hey!! Jingle bells…” (CONTINUES THROUGH REST OF SONG’S FIRST CHORUS) NANA: (HUGGING IRENE HAPPILY) “Oh, Irene, I’m so proud of you. You’re such a maestro, a real bandleader! You know, your great grandfather…my father…Dr Herbert…loved music. He was always leading us in song and he loved to take our family on sleigh rides, especially during the Christmas season.” IRENE: (MAGICALLY ENTHRALLED) “Really, Nana? Tell me more, PLEASE!” NANA: (LOST IN HER MEMORIES AS SHE LOOKS LOVINGLY AT REGINA) “Well, I remember my father, Dr. Herbert, and all of us singing Christmas carols on a very bitter, very cold, very darl snowy night as we rode in the sleigh through the streets of Philadelphia all bundled together under a warm, red woolen blanket.”

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IRENE: (EXCITED) “Wow, that sounds fun, Nana!” NANA: (LOOKING AT REGINA) “Honey, do you remember the stories I’ve told you about your Grandfather?” REGINA: (LOOKING SAD AND LOST IN HER THOUGHTS) “Yes, Mom, I do, like it was yesterday.” NANA: (CONTINUES AS IF IN A TRANCE) “I remember Daddy carrying me through the snow, kissing my cheek with his cold, frost-covered moustache. Then he began softly singing Silent Night. His voice was so pure. Afterwards, an older woman gave us some steaming hot coca from her sidewalk cart.” REGINA: (LOOKS DIRECTLY AT NANA) “Mom, was that Grandpa’s last Christmas with you?” NANA: (SLOWLY AND TENDERLY) “No, dear, my Daddy spent one more Christmas with us…right here in Philadelphia…”(NANA IS VERY SAD THEN BREAKS INTO A LARGE GRIN) “before he joined Santa and Mrs. Claus at the North Pole.” (LOOKING AT IRENE AS IF SHE IS SHARING AN ENORMOUSLY IMPORTANT SECRET FOR THE FIRST TIME) REGINA: (ALMOST DISBELIEVING AS IF SHE HAS HEARD THE STORY ONCE TOO MANY TIMES) “Yes, Mom…I know all about Grandpa and his work with Santa at the North Pole.” NANA: (ALMOST DISAPPROVING) “Do you, Regina? Do you REALLY know? Have you REALLY listened?” IRENE: (AS EXCITED AS ONLY A TRUE BELIEVER CAN BE) “Nana, do you mean Dr. Herbert…your Daddy…my Great-grandfather…actually visited Santa and Mrs. Claus at their workshop in the North Pole?”

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NANA: (CONFIDENTLY SHAKING HER HEAD YES) “That’s exactly what I mean, my dear. Dr Herbert, your Great-grandfather, knows Santa very well and he has a very important job at Santa’s North Pole workshop!” IRENE: (SHAKING WITH EXCITEMENT) “Wow, Nana…tell me more about Dr. Herbert and Santa! Now…PLEASE tell me!” REGINA: (WITH A NOTE OF WARNING) “Now, Mom…” NANA: (SECRETIVELY) “Oh, I will, my dear, tonight I promise. Tonight I’ll tell you the whole story about Dr. Herbert and Santa Claus. I call it “Our family’s Christmas mystery.” IRENE: (RUNNING TO NANA AND HUGGING HER) “Oh, come on, Nana, tell us now! Tell us now, PLEASE!” REGINA: (ASSUREDLY) “Later, honey, later. Nana promised and I have never heard this family Christmas MYSTERY before. I want to hear it too!” NANA: (A BIT HURT) “Well I’ve certainly tried to tell you Grandpa’s story. Perhaps things of this world, like your career and the like, have always been too pressing for you and Quentin.” QUENTIN: (OBVIOUSLY MORE RELAXED) “That’s true, Mom, that’s true I’m sorry to say.” NANA: (PLEASANTLY) “A bit more spirits, Quentin?” QUENTIN: “Why thank you, Mom, just a spot if you please.”

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REGINA: (TRYING TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT AS SHE PICKS UP THE MANY CHILDREN OF THE WORLD CHRISTMAS DOLLS THAT FILL NANA’S HOUSE) “Just where did you get all of these beautiful dolls, Mom?” NANA: “Why, I thought you knew, my dear. They are from Daddy, your Grandfather, Dr. Herbert. Aren’t they simplY exquisite?” REGINA: (ALMOST DISBELIEVING) “Oh yes, Mom, they are wonderful. But they look so new, like they were made yesterday.” NANA: “I know, but that’s Daddy for you…he’s so curious, and always wants to try the newest things from around the world.” REGINA: (SOMEWHAT JOKINGLY) “He must have been quite a magician also!” IRENE: (EXCITED) “I brought some of the Christmas dolls you gave me, Nana. Do you think I’ll get a new one this Christmas, Nana? Do you? Huh? PLEASE?” NANA: (LAUGHING) “Well…you’ll just have to be patient, my dear, and wait until we open our presents in the morning.” TREVOR: (HE’S BEEN SNACKING THE WHOLE TIME) “Yeah, our presents, Nana. Let’s open our gifts now! PLEASE?” NANA: (ENGAGINGLY) “How about some Christmas goodies first? Then maybe we can open one very special gift before we go to bed, alright?” (NANA WALKS TO TABLE AND STARTS READYING THE TREATS) IRENE & TREVOR: “Yeah, let’s eat! I’m hungry.”

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REGINA: (SOMEWHAT SERIOUSLY) “That’s a great idea, Mom. Why not run upstairs and get Nana’s presents? Let’s wash up and put on our Christmas pajamas before our Christmas snacks, OK?” IRENE & TREVOR (WANTING TO OPEN PRESENTS NOW): “Oh, Mom, come on.” REGINA: (ALMOST TOO SERIOUSLY) “Now, kids, don’t make me say it again. The train was full of people with…” NANA: (INTERUPTING ON PURPOSE) “And remember, Santa is still watching…he’s very busy, especially now, checking his list twice!” IRENE: (HAPPILY) “You’re right, Nana. Let’s go, Trevor, I’ll race you to the bedroom!” TREVOR: (STARTING TO RUN) “I can beat you!” REGINA: (RELIEVED) “Thanks, Mom, I needed the help. But…(REGINA IS BOTHERED BY QUENTIN’S INTERUPTION) QUENTIN: (HALF STANDS A BIT WOBBILY AS HE EXTENDS ARM WITH EMPTY BRANDY GLASS) “Yeah, Mom, thanks. Regina needed the help.” NANA: (AS SHE FILLS QUENTIN’S GLASS) “Why of course, Quentin. Here, just relax by the fire.” QUENTIN: (SITS DOWN DEEPER INTO CHAIR) “Thank you, Mom, and Merry Christmas to you, too!” (RAISES BRANDY GLASS IN TOAST)

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NANA: (HEARTILY RETURNS THE BLESSING) “And a merry Christmas to you too, Quentin!” REGINA: (RETURNS QUICKLY TO ISSUE WITH NANA) “…but, Mom, don’t you think the kids are a bit old for this North Pole and ‘Santa is watching’ stuff? I mean, Irene is almost… “ (BIT AGITATED) NANA: (SOOTHING) “Now, now, honey, here you sit by the fire and relax.” (GIVES REGINA A BIT OF WINE) “My dear, you’re never too old to believe. Why, when I was a young girl Irene’s age…” REGINA (SITS ON CHAIR’S END AND INTERRUPTS NANA A BIT TOO QUICKLY) “…when you were a young girl Irene’s age, Mom, kids didn’t meet in chat rooms, and girls didn’t pierce their navels, and both parents didn’t work on Christmas Eve” (STANDS UP) “Mom, kids are a bit more complicated today. Kids are no longer kids. They can…” NANA: (VERY SINCERELY) “…be true believers in the magic of Christmas if their parents will only help them believe. Oh, Regina” (MOVES TO COMFORT HER DAUGHTER) “just let yourself go…you’re never too old to believe in…” REGINA: (STANDS UP ABRUPTLY AND WALKS AWAY FROM NANA) “ Hokus pokus? Really, Mom, all this make-believe is dangerous. It only interferes with the child’s development. It…” NANA (QUITE SERIOUSLY) “Make believe? Make believe? You call this make believe, my dear? (LOOKS AROUND DECORATED ROOM) “Why, I’ll have you know your Grandfather, Dr. Herbert is…” REGINA: (QUICKLY TURNS TO MOTHER) “Passed, Mom…he’s long passed, Mom, and has been for quite some time. Remember?”

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NANA: (HURT BUT STRONG): “Now my dear, don’t be angry. Please. Think about what you are saying.” QUENTIN: (HALF STANDS UP A BIT MORE WOBBLY THIS TIME) “Yeah, honey, think about what you’re saying...er…Mom? (EXTENDS ARM AND GLASS) NANA: (SMILING) “Why of course, Quentin. Here, my dear.” QUENTIN: (SLEEPILY) “Why, thanks, Mom. And a very Merry Christmas to you!” (HALF EXTENDS HAND IN TOAST) NANA: (ALWAYS SMILING) “And to you too, Quentin.” (TURNS TO REGINA) “Now as I was saying, dear, your Grandfather, Dr. Herbert, truly believed. He always believed, and he sang…” REGINA: (WALKING TO R AWAY FROM MOM) “…to Santa and his elves? (LAUGHS LOUDLY AND A BIT SARCASTICALLY) “Mom, really, my father, Mr. Jack, never believed, and he never sang Christmas songs. Remember? Yet you two always seemed quite in love. Weren’t you?” (ASKS SERIOUSLY, AS IF THE ANSWER MAY TROUBLE HER) NANA: (MOVING TO REGINA WHERE SHE HUGS HER AND KISSES HER CHEEK) “Why of course I loved you Dad, my husband, Mr. Jack” (WITH A BIT OF SMILE AND LAUGH) “and we remain deeply in love. Still though, dear, I’m sure your father, Mr. Jack” (WITH A BIT OF SMILE AND LAUGH) “would agree even today, why tonight for that matter, that a bit more song and a lot more belief, and, would certainly have brightened his holidays.” REGINA: (RETURNS HUG GENEROUSLY) “Oh sure, Mom” (AS IF SHE DOESN’T BELIEVE HER) “why not ask him next time you talk with him?”

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NANA: (QUITE CONFIDENTLY) “That’s an excellent suggestion, my dear. I’ll do just that.” REGINA: (HOLDS MOM’S SHOULDERS AND LOOKS SERIOUSLY INTO BOTH EYES, A DEEP CONCERN FILLS HER VOICE) “Seriously, Mom, I’m sure your gentle dreams soothe you, and bring comfort on these long winter nights. Certainly, these fantasies won’t harm you.” (HUGS MOM WARMLY) “But, Mom, I believe they are unhealthy for the kids, and I must ask you…” IRENE: (AS SHE AND TREVOR HAPPILY RUN FROM L IN PJ’S WITH GAILY WRAPPED PACKAGES UNDER THEIR ARMS) “Ask Nana what? What’s unhealthy for us kids, Mom?” NANA: (WALKS QUICKLY TO HUG BOTH KIDS) “Too many Christmas cookies can be unhealthy, my dear. And I promised your Mom no more cookies…” (KIDS FROWN DISAPPOINTED) “AFTER Christmas!” (KIDS ENTHUSIASTICALLY NOD YES) IRENE AND TREVOR: (LIKE CHEERLEADERS) “Yeah!!! No more cookies… after Christmas! No more cookies…after Christmas! No more cookies…after Christmas! Yeah!!” TREVOR: (GIVES NANA PRESENT AND QUICKLY MOVES TO SNACK TABLE) “Let’s eat, Nana. I’m starving.” IRENE: (QUICKLY MOVES TO NANA) “Let’s open the presents, Nana…I can’t wait! Merry Christmas, Nana! (GIVES PRESENT TO NANA) “And please, don’t forget the Christmas mystery.”

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NANA: “Oh, thank you children, thank you. I love you both so much. Now” MOVES CHILDREN TOWARD TREE) “let’s go by the Christmas tree and enjoy some Christmas goodies. I also think there is a surprise of two for you good children.” REGIA: (EXCITED AND HELPING NANA) “Hurry, kids! Let’s hurry! Mom, I’ll bring the Christmas goodies! (LOOKS TO QUENTIN WHO IS SLEEPING BY THE FIRE) “Quentin dear, please join us by the tree.” (ALL LOOK AT QUENTIN WITH SMILE). QUENTIN: (QUITE TIRED, RAISES ARM STIFFLY AND SLOWLY MUMBLES) “…and a Merry Christmas to you, too…” (FADES BACK TO SLEEP) REGINA AND NANA: (SMILE AND NOD TO QUENTIN) IRENE: (GAILY) “Why, it looks like Daddy has settled in for his long winter nap!” (ALL LAUGH AS REGINA GETS WOOLEN CHRISTMAS BLANKET FROM SOFA AND PUTS IT OVER QUENTIN’S SLEEPING BODY. SHE TURNS OFF LAMP NEXT TO CHAIR THEN MOVES NEXT TO REST OF FAMILY SITTING BY TREE) NANA: (AS SHE PASSES COOKIES AND MILK) “These are very special cookies…I made them today for Santa’s visit tonight. Do you think he will like them?” IRENE AND TREVOR: (EATING COOKIES AND SIPPING MILK) “He’ll love them, Nana. They’re great!” (BOTH HAND PACKAGES TO NANA) “Merry Christmas, Nana. Here, open mine first!” TREVOR: (WITH LOVE) “Here, Nana, open mine first! PLEASE!”

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NANA: (ACCEPTS PACKAGE WITH A SMILE) “Why, thank you, children.” (OPENS TREVOR’S GIFT FIRST. SHE STRUGGLES WITH A COMPLICATED CONTRAPTION THEN SMILES) “It’s…it’s…it’s very unique, Trevor. Ahhh, what exactly is it?” (SHE ASKS GENTLY) TREVOR: (EXCITEDLY GRABS GIFT AND DEMONSTRATES) “I made it myself, Nana, at school. It’s a motion activated natural, nocturnal surveillance system. See, the food goes here, and your camera goes here. The night critter comes up to feed, and he triggers the motion detector and…VOILA!!” (A VERY BRIGHT FLASH OF LIGHT EXPLODES WITH A LOUD BANG) “You have a very natural picture of your nocturnal visitor. Do you like it? Huh?” NANA: (LAUGHING AND HUGGING TREVOR) “Like it? Why, I love it, Trevor. We’ll use it tonight while you’re here.” TREVOR: “Promise, Nana? Promise?” NANA: “Why of course, dear. We’ll use it tonight when Santa’s reindeers come. But, I hope it doesn’t scare them!” TREVOR: “Great, Nana. It won’t scare them, I promise.” IRENE: (WORRIED) “But, Nana, that bright light will scare the reindeers. They might fall off the roof with Santa in the sleigh.” TREVOR: “They will not, will they, Nana?” IRENE: “They will too, won’t they, Nana?” NANA: (LAUGHING WITH REGINA) “Well, let’s hope not.”

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IRENE: “Here, Nana, just for you. I made it just for you.” NANA: (GREAT BIG SMILE) “Why, thank you, dear.” (NANA OPENS GIFT AND HOLDS A VERY LARGE AND VERY RED CHRISTMAS SWEATSHIRT WITH NANA’S FACE ON FRONT. PAINTED BENEATH PICTURE IN VERY LARGE HAND PAINTED LETTTERS IS “I BELIEVE!” IRENE’S FACE IS ON BACK WITH HAND PAINTED LETTERS “SO DO I!”) NANA: ‘Why, dear, it’s simply lovely. Thank you, so much honey!” (KISSES IRENE) IRENE: (EXCITED) “Try it on, Nana! Try it on.” NANA: (STANDS AND MODELS A VERY OVERSIZED RED CHRISTMAS SWEAT SHIRT) “It’s simply perfect, Irene.” (STRETCHES OUT ARMS) “And it’s the perfect size, too.” (ENTIRE FAMILY LAUGHS) NANA: “Here, kids, from Nana and her special friends. Merry Christmas!” (NANA GIVES CHILDREN PRESENTS) IRENE AND TREVOR: (TEAR PAPER OFF!) “Thanks, Nana!” TREVOR: “Wow, Nana!!” (HOLDS UP WORLD GLOBE) “A globe that tells you about a country when you press it. Here listen!” (PRESSES TOP OF GLOBE) VOICE OFF STAGE: “The North Pole” (VOICE STATES AVERAGE TEMPERATURE, ANIMAL HABITAT, ETC) “The only human life on the North Pole is Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and their elfin helpers.”

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TREVOR (GENUINELY IMPRESSED) “Cooooooool, Nana! Thanks, kid! (GIVES NANA A BIG KISS) NANA: “Merry Christmas, Trevor, may you live a life that takes you to the world’s four corners!” IRENE: (EXCITED) ‘Wow, look at this everybody! (HOLDS UP A BEAUTIFUL COLORED DOLL) “Look how pretty she is, Nana. Oh thank you, Nana! (IRENE HUGS AND KISSES NANA) NANA: ‘Merry Christmas, Irene. She’s from Tibet, a country high in these mountains…the Himalayans…right here.” (NANA POINTS TO PLACE ON TREVOR’S GLOBE) ‘What will you name her?” IRENE: (WITHOUT HESITATION) “Haley, Nana. Her name is Haley!” (HUGS DOLL) REGINA: “Mom, this doll is beautiful. Where did you get her?” (ADMIRES DOLL) NANA: (SECRETLY TEASING) “Now, now, dear, would you REALLY believe me if I told you?” REGINA AND NANA: (LOOK AT EACH OTHER SERIOUSLY AND THEN LAUGH OUT LOUD. WOMEN GET UP FOR MORE TREATS AS CHILDREN PLAY WITH TOYS. NANA IS STILL WEARING HER ‘I BELIVE’ SHIRT) IRENE: “Nana, let’s hear the family’s Christmas mystery story now! OK? Come on, tell us, PLEASE!” TREVOR AND IRENE: (TOGETHER) “Nana, tell the Christmas mystery, PLEASE?”

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NANA: (STANDS TO GET THE PILLOWS AND BLANKETS OFF SOFA, SHE THEN BRINGS THEM TO FAMILY SITTING ON FLOOR AROUND THE TREE) “Sure, it’s time for the Christmas mystery.” (SHE TURNS LIGHT DIMMER DOWN SO CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND FIRE WARMLY LIGHT THE ROOM AND SITS DOWN WITH FAMILY) NANA: (IN A SECRET VOICE) “Now, music plays a very important part in our family Christmas mystery. So let’s set the mood with a song. Join me, all of you, please.” (NANA MOTIONS TO AUDIENCE AS ALL SING 1-2 COURSES OF SILENT NIGHT FOR 1.5 MIN OR SO) NANA: “Now, that is simply beautiful. Now our story starts in Missouri, in a tiny town named Brunswick, where your Great grandfather, Dr. Herbert, my father and her” (POINTS TO REGINA) “grandfather was born. As a boy, Herbert loved to sing…he sang all the time…from very early every morning when he rang the church bells that hung high in the steeple” (NANA STRETCHES HANDS VERY HIGH AND EVERYONE LOOKS UP) “until very late every night when he went to bed. Herbert loved to sing.” “As a very young boy, Herbert was very good student and a faithful believer. Why, he believed in God, he believed in doing good, he believed in helping people…AND…he believed in Santa Claus.” IRENE: (EARNESTLY) “I believe too, Nana. I really do believe!” NANA: “I know, my dear, I know.” (NODS ASSURINGLY TO IRENE) “When Herbert was older, he became DR. HERBERT, and he married his wife GG Ruth, my mother and her” (POINTS TO REGINA) “grandmother, and your great grandmother. Dr. Herbert and GG Ruth moved here to Philadelphia where I was

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born” (POINTS TO HERSELF) “Miss Victoria, the daughter of Dr. Herbert and GG Ruth.” (IRENE AND TREVOR AND REGINA STRETCH THEIR ARMS AND NESTLE DEEPER INTO THE WARM BLANKETS AND SLOWLY FADE INTO SLEEP) NANA: (CONTINUES IN SOOTHING VOICE) “Our family was very happy n Philadelphia, and Dr. Herbert helped many, many children. He and GG Ruth started a children’s hospital where children from all over the world came and got better.” (LIGHTS START TO DIM EVEN LOWER AND WE HEAR FAINT SLEIGH BELLS IN THE DISTANCE) “Now, all this time Dr. Herbert still believed. He believed in God, he believed in helping people, and he believed in Santa Claus.” (NANA LOOKS AT HER PEACEFULLY SLEEPING FAMILY. SHE QUIETLY RISES AND WALKS TO QUENTIN AND PULLS BLANKET UP TO HIS CHIN. THEN SHE PUTS ANOTHER BLANKET OVER THOSE SLEEPING BY THE TREE, AND WRAPS WARM BLANKET AROUND HERSELF AS SHE SITS CROSS-LEGGED NEXT TO FAMILY ON FLOOR. STILL, WE HEAR FAINT SLEIGH BELLS IN THE DISTANCE)

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INTERMISSION: 15 MINUTES Intermissions are very important: they provide a bridge between acts and a time for the audience to reflect on and interact about the play’s dynamics. Certainly, the audience shares thoughts and emotions while anxiously anticipating the upcoming moments. It is important the mood be maintained, and even heightened during this time. This is especially so during a Christmas holiday play. This is a family event! Going to the theatre during the holidays should be a family tradition, a lifelong memory to cherish and pass on. This is where culture is built and shared. Intermission can also be a holiday box-office windfall for the theatre, especially community theatres often struggling to survive while theatrically challenging their sometimes less that enlightened communities. Make this time special by being sensitive to the full family needs of your theatre’s guests.

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ACT II: SCENE I SCENE: A very cold, late afternoon-early evening in the early 1930’s. It’s the day before Christmas Eve. The country still struggles from the financial and social havoc unleashed by the 1929 stock market crash. Our scene opens at the turn-of-the century Victorian home of Dr. Herbert and family. The beautiful home is located in a well-to-do section of Philadelphia’s Center-City. Dr. Herbert has provided well for his family of three. He and his wife Ruth are the founders of a very successful children’s clinic that is affiliated with the city’s largest hospital. The clinic treats very sick children from all around the world. Dr. Herbert is a great family man who believes strongly in God, helping kids and Santa. He loves to sing, and has formed and directs the Dr. Herbert Children’s Christmas Band made up of children in the clinic. It performs concerts at the clinic for Philadelphians every Christmas. Dr. Herbert has battled his own life-threatening sickness for the last year. His wife Ruth and the community understand the end of his heroic struggle is near. Only his 7 year-old daughter Victoria refuses to accept his condition. The scene opens at Dr. Herbert’s house. Victoria plays alone outside in the cold. Several neighbors comment how profoundly sad Dr. Herbert’s situation is for Victoria, the clinic and the Children’s Christmas Band. Victoria furiously chases the neighbors off insisting her Daddy “will never go! He will never leave me!” She rushes into the house’s parlor room and joins her Daddy who is very tired as he visits with Ruth. Dr. Herbert assures his daughter he will always be with her and his Children’s Band to celebrate Christmas. Too fatigued to continue, he struggles upstairs to the bedroom to rest.

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ACT II, SCENE I SCENE OPENS: Seven year-old Victoria is jumping rope outside on the cold winter afternoon before Christmas Eve. She is singing the Christmas Carol to the rhythm of the jump rope. Several neighbors walk by talking about Dr. Herbert. Then they directly question Victoria about her father. VICTORIA: (SINGING AND JUMPING WITH REAL ENTHUSIASM) “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!” (QUCKENS PACE AND SONG UNTIL SHE IS MOVING QUITE FAST. HER JUMPING CONTINUES AS NEIGHBORS TALK AMONG EACH OTHER ON STAGE LEFT) WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (WITH PITY) “Look at that poor young darling, jumping rope so sadly. It’s like she’s trying to run away from the terrible, dark cloud descending on her home this holiday season.” MAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (QUESTIONING) “Ahhh, she seems quite happy to me. I wish my daughter was so gay on this dreary winter day.” WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 2: (DISAGREEING) “Ohhh, but look closer. Look at her sad eyes and listen to the deep melancholy in her voice. Surely this child is stricken with a deep sense of her family’s sorrow.” VICTORIA: (GAILY CONTINUES TO JUMP AND SING JINGLE BELLS IN VARYING RYTHYMS TO HER JUMPING) MAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (QUESTIONS) “Really?!?” WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (STUBBORNLY) “Nonsense, man! It is obvious to both of us.” (GESTURES TO OTHER WOMAN) “That young girl is very distressed. You know nothing about young, grieving girls. This one is very sad…almost beyond consoling. Come. Let’s comfort the poor young thing.”

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NEIGHBORS WALK TO VICTORIA AND LOOK AT HER FOR SOMETIME BEFORE QUIZZING HER ABOUT HER FATHER. WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (OVERLY FRIENDLY) “A good day young, Victoria, and a merry, merry Christmas. My you have such energy!” VICTORIA: (CONTINIUES HER CHRISTMAS SINGING & JUMPING WITHOUT ANSWERING) WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (AFTER AN AWKWARD SILENCE) “Ahhh, good day, Victoria, and how is your family this holiday?” (WAITS AGAIN AS VICTORIA CONTINUES SINGING & JUMPING) “The Dr. Herbert Children’s Christmas Band was wonderful again this year. But, it must have tired your father. How is Dr. Herbert feeling today after last week’s concert?” VICTORIA: (CONTINIUES HER CHRISTMAS SINGING & JUMPING WITHOUT ANSWERING) WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 2: (SOUNDING A BIT FRUSTRATED) “Young lady, your father, Dr. Herbert…how is he?” (VICTORIA CONTINUES SINGING & JUMPING) “We are all so worried, Victoria. Please, how is he?” (NEIGHBORS WAIT IN SILENCE AS VICTORIA CONTINUES JUMPING) MAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (COMPLIMENTS VICTORIA GENUINELY) “My, Victoria, you jump with such happiness and confidence. May I send my daughter Dorothy to you after Christmas for some instruction in jumping? She certainly needs it.” VICTORIA: (SMILES AS SHE CONTINIUES TO JUMP) “Why of course I’ll teach Dorothy. She and I have such fun together, and she can ride the pony Santa is

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going to bring me on Christmas. I’m going to name him Shiloh.” (CONTINUES JUMPING) MAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (SMILING) “A pony you say? Why you must have been a very good girl this year!” VICTORIA: (WITH CONFIDENCE): “Why, yes, quite good. Santa’s pony will be so happy with me. Shiloh will love Dorothy too!” WOMAN-NEIGHBOR I: (INTERRUPTS AGITADELY) “A pony? Here in downtown Philadelphia? Why don’t be rid…” (WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 2 STOPS WOMAN IN MID-WORD WITH A SHARP NUDGE TO THE ARM) “…I mean, just how will Santa get a pony on his sleigh?” VICTORIA: (ASSUREDLY) “Ohh, I don’t know, but he’ll figure it out. I believe, and Daddy says anything can happen if you believe.” WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 2: (QUICKLY) “Yes, yes, my dear, I’m sure you’re right, really I am, but there are limits to the power of believe, wouldn’t you agree with me?” VICTORIA: (CONTINUES JUMPING) “I’m afraid not, mam. My Daddy says belief, or faith, is a most powerful tool. Without belief a person feels empty and hollow inside.” WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (IMPATIENTLY AND MUCH TOO QUICK TO THE POINT) “All right, dear, have it your way for the moment. Now your father, Dr. Herbert, how is he feeling today, right now on the day before Christmas Eve?”

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VICTORIA: (QUITE CONFIDENTLY AS SHE STOPS JUMPING) “My father is quite fine, thank you.” (TURNS AND STARTS WALKING HOME) “Why, he is even going to train my pony Shiloh after Santa brings him.” WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 2: (FOLLOWING VICTORIA UP TO THE PORCH) “Santa bring a horse, to downtown Philadelphia?” (LAUGHS A BIT INCREDULOUSLY) “Why, my dear, that is preposterous.” (LONG HARD CONSONANTS: P, D, S, T) VICTORIA: (TURNS AND LOOKS WOMAN DIRECTLY IN THE EYES) “It is not!” WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 2: (QUICKLY ANSWERS) “It is too!” VICTORIA: (CONFIDENTLY) “”IT…IS…NOT!” WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (QUICKLY WALKS BETWEEN THE 2 WOMAN) “Now, ladies, please.” (WOMEN CONTINUE STARING AT EACH OTHER) “Now, that’s better.” (ASKS VICTORIA ONCE MORE) “Now please, Victoria, your father, Dr. Herbert, I simply must know. How is he today, the day before Christmas Eve?” VICTORIA: (TURNS AND WALKS UP PORCH STEPS) WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (IMPLORES) “I understand his situation is quite serious, and…” VICTORIA: (TURNS SLOWLY AND WALKS UP VERY CLOSELY TO WOMAN AND STARES UP INTO HER EYES) “He is quite fine, mam. Now thank you.” WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (QUICKLY) “I am afraid…he is not!” VICTORIA: (QUICKLY AND CLOSER) “I am afraid…he is too!”

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WOMAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (FLUSTERED) “He is not!” VICTORIA: (EVEN CLOSER AND MORE CONFIDENTLY) “HE…IS…TOO!” MAN-NEIGHBOR 1: (WALKS UP TO VICTORIA & WOMAN) “Now, ladies, please! It’s Christmas.” (TURNS TO VICTORIA) “Victoria, my dear, I’m sure your father is quite well.” (VICTORIA NODS HEDD YES) “And” (LOOKS SEVERELY TO WOMAN # 1) “I’m sure Santa’s pony will be quite welcome in Philadelphia.” (VICTORIA FOLDS ARMS AND NODS HEAD YES TO BOTH WOMEN) “Now, have a wonderful Christmas and please give your parents our best wishes.” VICTORIA: (TURNS TO NEIGHBOR-MAN AND GRACIOUSLY BOWS) “Thank you very much, and a very merry Christmas to all of you.” ALL NEIGHBORS: “Merry Christmas to you and your family, Victoria.” VICTORIA STEPS UP TO DOOR AND OPENS IT. AS SHE WALKS IN THE HOUSE, THE OUTSIDE HALF OF STAGE GOES TO BLACK AND THE HOUSE INTERIOR SIDE OF STAGE GOES LIGHT AS SHE WALKS IN PARLOR THE PARLOR IS VERY FESTIVELY DECORATED WITH A TREE, PINE BOUGHS AND LIGHT STRINGS. A SPRIG OF MISTLETOE HANGS INSIDE DOORWAY. THE ROOM LOOKS MUCH LIKE VICTORIA’S CURRENT CENTER CITY APARTMENT INCLUDING THE HANGING CEILING ORNAMENTS AND A COZY FIRE IN THE FIREPLACE. DR. HERBERT IS SLEEPING IN HIS FAVORITE CHAIR, COVERED WITH WARM BLANKETS. HE IS ABOUT 40 YEARS-OLD AND HAS A MOUSTACHE AND SEEMS VERY TIRED. MRS. HERBERT, RUTH, HAS BEEN WATCHING VICTORIA THROUGH THE WINDOW BY THE DOOR.

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RUTH: (THE MOTHER AND DAUGHTER KISS UNDER THE MISTLETOE. QUIETLY RUTH ALMOST WHISPERS TO VICTORIA) “Shh, honey, your father is very tired and he is resting right now.” VICTORIA: (RUSHES TO DADDY OBLIVIOUS TO RUTH’S REQUEST) “Daddy, Daddy! You look wonderful. Are you sleeping?” DR. HERBERT: (AWAKENS SLOWLY THEN LOOKS LOVINGLY AT DAUGHTER) “Why, why no, my dear. I’m just thinking about Santa’s visit tonight.” (THE TWO HUG) “Victoria, please stand in the light so I can see how lovely you look in your new Christmas dress.” (DR. HERBERT STRAINS TO SEE HER DRESS AS HIS EYESIGHT IS DIMMING) VICTORIA: (STANDS BACK A FEW FEET THEN PULLS DRESS OUT AND SLOWLY CIRCLES LIKE BALLERINA) “Don’t you just love this new Christmas dress, Daddy?” DR. HERBERT: (LOVINGLY) “Yes, my dear, very much. You look marvelous today. Come sit on Daddy’s lab and tell me all about your afternoon.” VICTORIA: (CUDDLES IN FATHER’S LAP AND SAYS QUITE FAST AND ANIMATEDLY) “Well, Daddy, I was outside jumping rope when one neighbor lady says that is PrePoSTerous to think Santa will bring me a pony…the other neighbor lady says you are very sick and that everyone is worried about you… and the neighbor man wants me to teach his daughter how to jump rope, and…” DR. HERBERT: (LAUGHINGLY INTERRUPTS) “Whoa, whoa, young lady! What a busy afternoon you have had. Let’s take one neighbor at a time. Now…first, tell me about Santa’s pony?”

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VICTORIA: (STILL RUSHED BUT SUDDENLY ENJOYING THE FAST-TALK GAME) “Welll, one neighbor woman says there are limits to the power of belief and that it’s PrePoSTerous to believe Santa will bring me a pony this Christmas.” DR. HERBERT: (VERY SERIOUSLY) “Really, now…limits to the power of belief? Whyyy (LONG AND VERY BOMBASTICALLY) that’s simply PreeePosssTerrrous in itself!” VICTORIA: (CLAPPING GLEEFULLY) “Yeah! Yeah! That’s just what I told her. “Whyyy” (MIMICKING HER DADDY PERFECTLY) “to BBBelieve the PPPower of BBBelief is PPPreePPPosssTerousss…Whyyy that’s simply MONNSTERROUSS!” (BOTH START LAUGHING AND HUGGING EACH OTHER) DR. HERBERT: (SERIOUSLY) “Victoria, please, let Santa decide what is PrePoSTerous. Always believe in yourself…and Santa. Now, the second neighbor-lady, tell me about her. VICTORIA: “Well, Daddy, she says you are very sick and that everyone is very worried about you. And, she says the Dr. Herbert Children’s Christmas Band concert tired you tremendously.” (VERY CONCERNED HUGS DADDY TIGHTER) “Did it, Daddy? Did the concert tire you tremendously?” DR. HERBERT: (ASSURINGLY) “Ahh, honey, I’m fine. A bit tired, but I’m very well, really, I am. The Children’s Christmas Band gives me strength, and the band helps the children at the hospital. It seems people want to worry about something, and this year that something is me.” (HUGS DAUGHTER TIGHTER) VICTORIA: (STILL VERY CONCERNED) “But, Daddy, so many neighbors seem worried about you…should I be worried too?”

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DR. HERBERT: (HUGS VICTORIA TIGHTER) “Honey, you should not worry… worry makes worry lines,,,here on your face.” (DRAWS LONG IMAGINARY LINES ACROSS VICTORIA’S FOREHEAD) “And worry lines…make you worry… and worry makes worry lines.” (DRAWS MORE LINES ON FOREHEAD) “And worry lines…make you worry…and worry makes worry lines. (CONTINUES UNTIL BOTH ARE LAUGHING) VICTORIA: (HUGS DADDY EVEN MORE TIGHTER) “Ahh, Daddy, I love you. I will always love you.” DR. HERBERT: “Victoria, I love you so much also. You are my life and my joy, and I will always be with you…always.” VICTORIA: (BECOMES MORE ASSURED) “Really, Daddy? Will you always be with me? (DADDY NODS HEAD YES) “Promise me, Daddy, promise me you will always be with me!” DR. HERBERT: (HUGS DAUGHTER LONG AND LOVINGLY) “Ahhh, my darling, I promise. I will always be with you. Really, I will. But, I certainly will need your help. Will you help me, dear?” VICTORIA: (EXCITED) “Of course I’ll help you, Daddy. I’ll do anything. Tell me, Daddy, please, tell me…how I can help you be with me always?” DR. HERBERT: “Thank you, dear, I knew I can always count on you. I promise. I promise I will always be with you, but your help is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.” (SLOWLY) “And it’s terribly difficult.” VICTORIA: (SOUNDING A BIT WORRIED BUT SURE) “Difficult, Daddy? How difficult?”

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DR. HERBERT: “My part is perfectly easy. You see, my dear, you are the world’s most wonderful daughter, and it’s simply a marvelous pleasure to be with you always…so that’s not hard at all.” (VICTORIA BEAMS WITH PRIDE) “Sometimes, I’ll be right next to you, like now, and you will reach out and hold me tightly, just like this.” (DR. HERBERT SQUEEZES VICTORIA TIGHTLY) VICTORIA: (GIGGLES AND LAUGHS) “Oh, Daddy, your moustache is tickling me!” DR. HERBERT: “Other times, you will hold me here, in your mind” (POINTS TO VICTORIA’S HEAD) “or sometimes you will hold me here, in your heart” (POINTS TO HER HEART) “see…I will always be with you. Sometimes I’ll be here” (POINTS TO THE ROOM) “sometimes I’ll be here” (POINTS TO HEAD) “sometimes I’ll be right here, right in your heart…if…” (PAUSES DRAMATICALLY) “if you do your part…the most difficult part.” IRENE: (VERY SERIOUSLY) “Of course I will, Daddy, of course I will. I promise. Tell me! Tell me! What must I do?” DR. HERBERT: (DRAMITICALLY) “You, my dear, must believe!” IRENE: “Believe…Daddy?” DR. HERBERT: “Yes, my dear, you must believe…absolutely…without a shred of doubt! You must believe I am with you…always…and believe me, my darling, believing is the hardest job of all.” VICTORIA: “It is, Daddy? Believing is hard?” DR. HERBERT: (EMPHATICALLY) “Of course it is, my dear. Believing is the hardest job of all…believe me!”

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VICTORIA: “What’s so hard about believing, Daddy? It seems easy enough to me!” DR. HERBERT: “It may seem so now, honey. But, soon you’ll understand that everything about believing is hard. Believe me. You see, the world is full of neighbor ladies like the ones you met today that will insist…to the end of their very last breath, that believing is simply PrePoSTerous!” VICTORIA: “They will?” DR. HERBERT: “Yes, my dear, to their very last breath they will insist that believing is PrePoSTerous!” VICTORIA: “Reallyl?” DR. HERBERT: “Yes!! But, we know differently, don’t we, darling?” VICTORIA: (WITH GROWING CONFIDENCE) “Yes…yes…we…do, Daddy. We know differently!” DR. HERBERT: “Of course we do. Because we know…” DR. HERBERT AND VICTORIA: (TOGETHER WITH GREAT FEELING AND JOY) “To believe the Power of Belief is PrePoSTerous…WHY…that is simply MONSTEROUS!!!” (BOTH LAUGH HEARTILY) DR. HERBERT: “So there you have it, my dear. Your job…the job of believing that I am always with you…is absolutely necessary and terrifyingly difficult!”

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IRENE: (SOUNDING A LITTLE GIRLISH AND VULNERABLE) “I know it is, Daddy, I know that believing is sometimes very hard.” DR. HERBERT: (CONFIDENTLY) “Never fear, my dear, because I’ll be here… here…here…and here” (POINTS TO ROOM, HEAD, HEART AND BODY) “to help you and …you’ll help me be here…here…here…and here” (POINTS TO ROOM, HEAD, HEART AND BODY) “by firmly believing that I am here…here… here…and here” (POINTS TO ROOM, HEAD, HEART AND BODY) “because…” (CONTINIUES TO POINT FASTER AND FASTER UNTIL BOTH ARE TICKLING AND LAUGHING WITH EACH OTHER) VICTORIA: (HUGS DADDY AGAIN) “Oh, Daddy, that is simply wonderful! I am so glad…and happy!” DR. HERBERT: (SLOWLY SITS BACK, OBVIOUSLY TIRED BY THE FUN) “I’m very happy too, my dear.” VICTORIA: (SERIOUSLY WONDERING A BIT) “Sooo, Daddy…Santa…can he still bring a pony…to me…here in Philadelphia?” DR. HERBERT: (CONFIDENT BUT TIRED) “Why of course he can!” VICTORIA: “But will he? That is the question?” DR. HERBERT: “Well…we���ll just have to wait and see what he brings tonight, won’t we, my dear?” VICTORIA: “Oh, Daddy, I believe Santa will bring a pony to me right here in Philadelphia, I do. I really believe!” DR. HERBERT: (WHISPERING) “And I believe you may be right, honey.”

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VICTORIA: (HUGGING DADDY) “Yeah! I know Santa will bring me a pony!” DR. HERBERT: (SIGHS SLOWLY AND DEEPLY, VERY TIRED BY THEIR DISCUSSION) “Oh, you’re such a good girl, my darling Victoria.” VICTORIA: “Thank you, Daddy. Daddy, are you just a bit tired now?” (WORRY CREEPS INTO HER VOICE) DR. HERBERT: “If the truth be told my dear, I am tired, just a bit I’m afraid.” RUTH: (WHO HAS BEEN WATCHING FROM THE FIREPLACE WALKS UP TO THE TWO) “Yes, your father is a bit tired. I think he should get some rest upstairs in his own bed, don’t you, honey?” (LOOKS AT VICTORIA) DR. HERBERT: (VERY TIRED) “Yes, I think that’s a good idea. I will just go upstairs.” VICTORIA: (KISSING HER DADDY ON THE CHEEK) “Of course, Daddy. I think getting some rest is a good idea also. You do look a bit tired, and Santa is coming tonight. I think you should be well rested when he comes, don’t you?” DR. HERBERT: (CHUCKLING A BIT) “Yes, my darling Victoria, I want to be well rested when Santa comes tonight.” (STRUGGLES TO RISE WITH THE HELP OF RUTH) VICTORIA: “Daddy, before you go upstairs to rest, please lead us in a Christmas song…please?” DR. HERBERT: (LOOKS TO RUTH AND THEN SMILES) “Certainly, my dear” (SETTLES INTO CHAIR) “I’d love to sing a song with you and your mother.”

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(LOOKS LOVINGLY AT WIFE) “and my lovely wife, Ruth. Which one shall we sing?” VICTORIA: (HAS WALKED TO FIREPLACE MANTEL TO RETRIEVE HER FATHER’S BAND BATON) “Let’s sing our favorite, Father. Lead us in our favorite Christmas song.” (HANDS BATON TO FATHER AND SITS ON FLOOR WITH RUTH AS BOTH LOOK UP TO DR. HERBERT) VICTORIA, RUTH AND DR. HERBERT: (SING ONE/TWO COURSES SILENT NIGHT AS DR. HERBERT LEADS SONG WITH SLOW, CONDUCTOR MOTIONS. ALL THREE INVITE THE AUDIENCE TO SING WITH THEM AS THEY REPEAT THE 1ST VERSE) VICTORIA: (LIGHTS ARE LOW BUT WARM SPOT LIGHT ON FAMILY) “Daddy, that was wonderful.” DR. HERBERT: (STANDS SLOWLY WITH RUTH’S HELP) “My dear, you have a marvelous voice, the voice of an angel.” (KISSES VICTORIA’S HAND) VICTORIA: “Thank you, Daddy, thank you.” (DR. HERBERT WALKS VERY SLOWLY TO STEPS) “Daddy, Daddy, I have a question, Daddy!” DR. HERBERT: (TURNS SLOWLY) “Yes, my dear, what is your question?” VICTORIA: (STANDING) “I know Daddy, you will always be here…in my mind (POINTS TO HEAD) “and here, in my heart” (TOUCHES HEART) “but, Daddy, where will YOU be if you leave here?” (SLOWLY STRETCHES ARM AROUND ROOM) “Daddy, where you will be then?”

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DR. HERBERT: (LAUGHS AND NODS WISELY) “That is an excellent question, my darling Victoria. I fully expect, that if I leave here” (MOTIONS AROUND ROOM) “I will be with Santa, my dear.” VICTORIA: (RUNS TO FATHER AND SAYS VERY HAPPILY) “Oh, that is wonderful, Daddy, that is simply wonderful! I knew that’s where you would be.” (HUGS DADDY TIGHTLY) DR. HERBERT: (ASSUREDLY) “Of course, my dear, I’ll be with Santa. Now, it’s time for me to get some rest.” (HUGS VICTORIA) VICTORIA: (HUGS DADDY AGAIN. HER SUBTLE SADNESS SUGGESTS SHE UNDERSTANDS MORE THAN SHE SAYS) “Good by, Father. I love you so much.” DR. HERBERT: “And I love you my dear. I love you beyond words.” (KISSES VICTORIA AND WALKS UPSTAIRS) VICTORIA: (SMILES AND SLOWLY WALKS TO FIREPLACE AND TREE. SHE GRABS DR. HERBERT’S BLANKET, COVERS HER SHOULDERS AND LIES BENEATH THE TREE NEXT TO FIREPLACE) “Good night, Father. I will love you always.” (LIGHT FADES TO ALMOST NOTHING AS VICTORIA NODS ASLEEP. AFTER SEVERAL QUIET MOMENTS WE HEAR SLEIGH BELLS AND THE NEIGHING OF A PONY OF STAGE LEFT)

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ACT II, SCENE II SCENE: The scene opens in the present on the darkened corner of Nana’s (Victoria) living room. It is the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. Irene, Trevor, Quentin and Regina are fast asleep. Nana rests in her blanket-covered chair. A mountain of presents surrounds the tree. Has Santa already visited? The feint sound of sleigh bells can be heard off-stage right. The room is very dark except for the Christmas lights. Nanas stirs from the chair, folds her blanket and quietly tip toes to the sleeping Irene. Nana gently shakes Irene awake and motions with a raised finger to her lips to be still. Irene quickly rises and is completely surprised by all the presents. Nana again motions Irene to remain quiet and wraps her shoulders with a warm, brightly knitted blanket as the two move silently to stage right. The faint sound of sleigh bells can be heard off stage. Nana carries an old and weathered leather travel bag as she leads them out of room and house into the darkness off stage right. The scene is eerily dark and quiet except for the distant sound of sleigh bells. Wait, is that children laughing and singing Christmas songs? The two shadowy figures slowly wander in the light of a small spotlight to the far darker corner of stage right. Fog begins to rise on the stage floor. They circle toward center stage as the fog rises waist high and becomes thicker. They move to stage left and then circle back to right. The sleigh bells become louder. Nana again motions Irene to remain quiet as they slowly move around the stage. Nana looks up into the lights as the sound of a man’s heavy boots begin at stage left and move closer to them. Out of the thick fog a handsome middle-aged man with a moustache walks toward the two women. His dashing figure is dressed in a festively colored bandleader’s outfit covered with a long dark cape. He smiles broadly and raises both arms to the girls as he approaches.

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DR. HERBERT: (WALKING BRISKLY TOWARD NANA WITH OUTSTRETCHED ARMS. HE HUGS HER TIGHTLY AS THE FOG RISES TO WAIST LEVEL) “Oh my darling, it’s so wonderful to see you again.” NANA: (HUGGING HIM TIGHTLY) “Oh Daddy, it’s been too long! I’m happy to see you again!” DR. HERBERT: (LAUGHING A BIT) “Long? Long, you say? Why, my dear, it’s only one year” (HE INTENTLY STUDIES HIS POCKET WATCH) “to the day. Actually, it’s one year to the hour, darling! One year of time is but a moment in the eye of eternity!” NANA: “I know, Father, but even a short bit of time can linger forever, you know.” DR. HERBERT: “How well I know, my dear, how well I know.” (KNEELING DOWN TO LOOK IRENE IN THE EYES) “And this must be my grand…grand… grandest of them all grand-daughter…Irene.” NANA: (KNEELING DOWN IN FRONT OF IRENE) “Why yes, Father, this is Irene. Hasn’t she grown so tall and so straight? She has Mother’s” (LOOKING DIRECTLY AT IRENE) “your great-grand mother Ruth…composure, and your love of music. Why, she is only eight, I mean eight and a half, and she is quite an accomplished musician already, Father.” DR. HERBERT: (EXTENDS HAND IN GREETING TO IRENE) “Why…” (PROUDLY) “already an accomplished musician, and only eight, excuse me, my dear, and only eight and a half years old? I am impressed. Hello, Irene, I am Dr. Herbert, your great-grand father. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

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IRENE: (CURTSIES A BIT SHYLY AND EXTENDS RIGHT ARM) “My pleasure to be sure, Dr. Herbert. I have heard much about you. May I please call you Grandpa, Dr. Herbert?” DR. HERBERT: (VERY PROUDLY) “Grandpa? Why of course, my dear. I am most honored to be known as Irene’s GRANDPA. You know, Irene, I have watched you grow up from the day of your birth.” IRENE: (AMAZED) “Really, have you watched me closely? I mean REAL close the whole eight and a half years, Grandpa?” DR. HERBERT: (MOVES FACE CLOSER TO IRENE EACH TIME HE SAYS VERY” “Yes, my dear, very…very…very…very closely!” IRENE: “And what do you think, Grandpa?” DR. HERBERT: “I think you are simply wonderful!” IRENE: (VERY HAPPY) “Wonderful…simply wonderful?!?” DR. HERBERT: (PICKS UP IRENE AND HUGS HER AS HE SWIRLS HER AROUND AND AROUND) “Yes, my dear, simply…simply wonderful!” IRENE: “Thank you, Grandpa!” (KISSES HIM ON CHEEK) DR. HERBERT: (HOLDING IRENE AS HE LOOKS AT VICTORIA) “Well, my dears, we must be off or we’ll be late. We still have several stops before we arrive.” NANA: (MOVING CLOSER TO BOTH) “Yes, Father, I’m anxious to go. But, Father…Irene…” (PUTS HAND ON IRENE’S SHOULDER) “may she…”

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DR. HERBERT:” (FINISHES NANA’S SENTENCE) “Join us?” Well, I certainly hope so.” (WHISPERS A SECRET TO VICTORIA) “But, does she believe?” (VICTORIA NODS YES) “Well then it’s up to her. What say you, Irene, are you ready for a late night sleigh ride?” IRENE: (REPEATS QUESTION WITH HIGH PITCHED GIDDINESS) “A late night sleigh ride…tonight?” DR. HERBERT: (SMILING) “Yes my dear, a sleigh ride…tonight!” IRENE: (WITH UNCONTAINED EXCITEMENT) “Why of course, Grandpa!!!” (HUGS HIM TIGHTLY) “I love late night sleigh rides!” DR. HERBERT: (ALSO EXCITED) “Wonderful! Let’s hurry then. I can hear the children are already getting into the spirit of the night.” (SOUNDS OF SLEIGH BELLS AND CHILDREN SINGING CHRISMAS CAROLS GETS LOUDER) IRENE: (IN ANTICIPATION) “Children? Grandpa, just where are we going tonight? And…who are we going with?” NANA: (LEADING THE TWO OFF STAGE” “They’ll be plenty of time for questions, Irene. But we must hurry now or we’ll be late” AS THE THREE WALK OFF STAGE LEFT THE STAGE GOES DARK THEN BRIGHTENS JUST A BIT AS THEY RE-ENTER FROM STAGE RIGHT. THE FOG IS STILL THICK AND THE SOUND OF CHILDREN LAUGHING AND SINGING CAN BE HEARD. A SMALL SPOT FOLLOWS THE THREE IN THE DARKNESS AS THEY WALK TO CENTER LEFT AND STOP. THE LIGHTS COME UP A BIT AND THEY ARE STANDING NEXT TO A HUGE CHRISTMAS SLEIGH.

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AN ELF AND A HALF-DOZEN CHILDREN IN THEIR PJ’s AND WINTER ROBES AND SLIPPERS FILL THE BACK OF THE SLEIGH. SEVERAL THICK WOOLEN BLANKETS COVER THE CHILDREN AS THEY SING AND LAUGH. BOY 1: (GAILY) “Hello, Dr. Herbert! Who are the lady and the new girl?” (ALL CHILDREN BECOME QUIET AS THEY LOOK AT IRENE) DR. HERBERT: (PROUDLY) “This, my children” (PUTS ARM AROUND VICTORIA) “is my daughter, Miss Victoria!” ((VICTORIA BOWS LIGHTLY AND THE CHILDREN WAVE WILDLY) “And this lovely young lady” (LIFTS IRENE HIGH) “is my lovely great-granddaughter, Irene!” BOY 2: (BOWS DEEPLY) “Welcome aboard, ladies. It is our distinct pleasure to travel with the two of you.” (GRACIOUSLY WAVES ARM AS SIGN OF ADMISSION THEN LOOKS AT DR. HERBERT) “But, Dr. Herbert, can they sing?” DR. HERBERT: “Can they sing? Can they sing? Why of course they can sing, lad. And quite grandly I might add.” GIRL 1: (MOVES TO SIDE OF SLEIGH) “But will they be ready for tonight’s concert?” (THE ELF JUMPS OFF SLEIGH AND HELPS THE LADIES BOARD THE SLEIGH) NANA: (LAUGHING AS SHE HELPS IRENE INTO THE SLEIGH) “Why of course we will be ready for tonight’s concert. Why, we can practice on the way!” BOY 2: (WITH GREAT ENTHUSIASM) “Fantassstttticcc!! We can sing on the way. Hurry, ladies. He may already be waiting for us, I’m sure.”

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IRENE: (STOPS AS SHE IS ENTERING SLEIGH AND LOOKS AT DR. HERBERT) “Who may be waiting for us, Grandpa? Just where are we going?” DR. HERBERT: (VERY SERIOUSLY) “Why, to the North Pole, my dear. We are off to Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. Now, children, get yourselves ready if you please. Santa is still making his list…and still checking it twice!” DR. HERBERT SITS IN THE SLEIGH’S DRIVER SEAT AND PICKS UP THE SLEIGH REINS. VICTORIA SETTLES THE CHILDREN AND IRENE IN THE BACK AS SHE COVERS THEM WITH THE BLANKETS. VICTORIA SITS BETWEEN HER FATHER AND THE ELF AS THE ELF CLUMSILY UNFOLDS A VERY LARGE AND VERY OLD MAP AND BEGINS TO STUDY IT INTENTLY. IRENE: (SHAKES HANDS WITH GIRL 1) “Please to meet you. I am Irene.” GIRL 1: (HAPPILY REPLIES) “I’m Keesha. Merry Christmas, Irene!” (ALL THE KIDS PAT IRENE ON THE SHOULDER) “Merry Christmas, Irene!” IRENE: “Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! It’s so wonderful to meet you all!” (TO KEESHA) “Keesha, what concert are we going to sing in?” DR. HERBERT, VICTORIA AND ELF ARE ALL SLOWLY TURNING THE MAP AROUND, OBVIOUSLY STRUGGLING TO LOCATE THEIR POSITION. THE ELF PULLS A FLASHLIGHT FROM AN OVERNIGHT BAG AND ALL INTENTLY STARE AT THE MAP POINTING AT DIFFERENT PLACES. KEESHA: (PROUDLY) “Why, we sing in Dr. Herbert’s Children’s Christmas Band. Tonight we sing a Christmas concert for Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and all the elves at their annual Christmas Dinner.”

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IRENE: (INCREDULOUSLY) “Sing…before Santa and Mrs. Claus and the elves at the Annual Christmas Eve Dinner…all of us?” KEESHA: (BEAMING) “Why of course…all of us…tonight. Won’t that be exciting! Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the elves! I can’t believe it.” IRENE: “But, why us?” KEESHA: (PROUDLY) “Why? Why you ask? Why? Because WE BELIEVE! AND WE CAN SING!!! Right kids?” (KEESHA SAYS LOUDLY TO ALL THE KIDS) ALL THE KIDS: (IN A LONG, THEATRICAL CHORUS) “WE…WEE…WEEEE… BE…BEE…BEEE…LIIIEEEVE!!!” (KIDS AND IRENE ALL LAUGH) KEESHA: (SERIOUSLY) “This morning all of us were very sick children from all over the world. Then…tonight… Christmas Eve…Dr. Herbert and his Elf friend visited each of us at our hospital bed and whispered: “Do you believe?’” Of course, we answered…we believe! Fine they said. Would you like to come to the North Pole, live with Santa and sing in the Dr. Herbert’s Children’s Christmas Band?” IRENE: “And…” KEESHA: (WHISPERING) “And…we said…”(LOUDLY SCREAMS) “YOU BET, DR. HERBERT!!! Right, kids?” (KEESHA LOOKS AT ALL THE KIDS) ALL THE KIDS: (IN A LONG, THEATRICAL CHORUS) “WHY…OF…COURSE!!! WE SAID YOU…YOU…YOU…BET…BET…BET!!!” (KIDS LAUGH AND HUG EACH OTHER)

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IRENE: (LAUGHING AND JUMPING UP AND DOWN WITH THE OTHER KIDS) “So tonight we sing together…in the Dr. Herbert Children’s Christmas Band… for Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the elves…tonight?” KEESHA: (DEFINITELY) “That’s right, Irene! Tonight!!!” ALL THE KIDS AND IRENE: (QUIETLY AND SLOWLY LOOK AT EACH OTHER, AND THEN IN VERY LOUD AND VERY HAPPY VOICES SHOUT) “YEAH!!!” DR. HERBERT, VICTORIA AND THE ELF FINALLY POINT TO THE SAME PLACE ON THE MAP AND SHAKE THEIR HEADS IN AGREEMENT DR. HERBERT: (LOOKS AT THE KIDS IN THE BACK) “OK, kids…are you ready?” EVERYONE: (TOGETHER VERY LOUDLY) “Why of course!!!’ DR. HERBERT: “Well then…two more stops…then it’s…” EVERYONE: (LOUDLY FINISH SENTENCE) “Santa’s house at the North Pole… why of course!” DR. HERBERT: (PULLS PITCH TUNE OUT OF POCKET AND BLOWS NOTE FOR TUNING) EVERYONE: (HUM NOTE AND HOLD) “Mmmmmmmm….” DR. HERBERT: (SNAPS REINS, THE SLEIGH BELLS JINGLE LOUDLY) “Well then, let’s be off! Rudolph…take us home!”

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EVERYONE: (HAPPILY HUM STARTING NOTE) “Mmmm…Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…” (KIDS LEAD THE AUDIENCE IN SINGING TWO VERSES AS THE BELLS RING, THE FOG SWIRLS AND LIFTS AND THE LIGHTS SWIRL AS LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK)

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ACT II, SCENE III SCENE: Scene opens on Nana’s dark but festively decorated living room in her Center City Philadelphia apartment. It is very early on Christmas morning and many colorfully wrapped gifts are piled high around the Christmas tree. Trevor sleeps deeply next to the tree under a thick pile of winter blankets. His father Quentin continues to sleep in the leather chair where he started his Christmas Eve. Regina stirs, raises her head and is genuinely surprised by the large mound of gaily wrapped packages. She quietly rises, pulls the covers up around Trevor and Quentin. She soon notices that Irene and Nana are missing, and begins her search for the two. REGINA: (QUIETLY TIPTOES THROUGH THE ROOM LOOKING FOR NANA AND IRENE. SHE SHRUGS HER SHOULDERS IN CONFUSION AND MOTIONS TO THE AUDIENCE THAT SHE IS GOING TO EXPLORE THE UPSTAIRS. SHE RAISES HER FINGER TO HER MOUTH AND SIGNALS QUIET TO ALL AS SHE EXITS CNTR LFT) “Shhhh…” TREVOR AND QUENTIN: (THE TWO PULL THE COVERS TIGHTER AROUND THEIR NECKS, SIGH DEEPLY AND SETTLE DEEPER INTO THEIR SLEEPS. BOTH SNORE BLISSFULLY) “ZZZZ…” REGINA: (QUICKLY ENTERS FROM LC COMPLETELY WORRIED BY NOT FINDING IRENE AND NANA. SHE SILENTLY ASKS THE AUDIENCE IF IT HAS SEEN THE LADIES. SHE TIPTOES QUICKLY AROUND THE ROOM AGAIN CHECKING IN ALL THE CORNERS. SURPRISED AND WORRIED SHE MOVES QUICKLY TO QUENTIN, SHAKES HIM BRISKLY AND ASKS HIM IN A MUCH TOO LOUD VOICE) “Quentin! Quentin! Please, Quentin, the girls are missing. Irene and Nana are missing!”

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QUENTIN: (STIRS SLOWLY, RAISES HIS HEAD OFF THE LEATHER CHAIR AND SAYS IN A MUCH QUIETER VOICE) “Uhhh, good morning, Honey, and Merry Christmas!” (LEANS OVER TO KISS REGINA) REGINA: (IN VOICE MUCH LOUDER THAN QUENTIN) “Please quiet down, Quentin! You’ll wake up Trevor! He is still sleeping. The girls, Irene and Nana, are missing, Quentin!” QUENTIN: (STILL TRYING TO WAKE UP, LOOKS AT TREVOR’S SLEEPING BODY) “Wake up Trevor? You want me to wake up Trevor? But, Honey, he is still sleeping? Oh, Merry Christmas, Dear.” REGINA: (SURPRISED AND STILL LOUDER THAN QUENTIN) “No silly! I don’t want you to wake Trevor. I said you are going to wake him if you continue to talk so loudly!” (QUENTIN LOOKS AT THE AUDIENCE AS IF TO ASK SILENTLY ‘I’M THE ONE THAT IS TOO LOUD?’) “The girls, Irene and Nana, are missing, Quentin! The…girls…are…missing!” QUENTIN: (STARTING TO UNDERSTAND) “Missing? You say the girls are missing? I’m sure they just stepped outside for the moment. They’ll be back shortly. Oh, honey, Merry Christmas.” REGINA: (STILL TOO LOUD) “Please! You are going to wake Trevor. Just stepped outside?!? Just stepped outside?!? Quentin, it’s below freezing AND there is over a foot of snow on the ground! They are missing, Quentin, not exploring!” QUENTIN: (FULLY AWAKE NOW, HE STANDS UP AND LOOKS AT ALL THE PRESENTS) “They’re fine, honey, I’m sure they are fine. Wow! Look at those presents! When did you put all the presents out? You sure were busy last night, honey. Oh, Merry Christmas, dear.”

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REGINA: (STILL LOUDER AND STILL VERY WORRIED BY THE MISSING GIRLS) “Please! Not so loud if you please!” The girls, Irene and Nana, are missing. They are missing on Christmas morning, and I did not put out all the gifts last night. YOU MUST HAVE, DEAR.” QUENTIN: (CHUCKLING A BIT) “I wish I had, honey, but I have been in that chair all night. Maybe Irene and Mom put the gifts out. That’s it! The girls put the gifts out and they are upstairs getting more presents. Well, now it’s settled. Honey, please, Merry Christmas!” REGINA: (MUCH MORE LOUDER AND FRUSTRATED) “Shhh, Quentin! They are not upstairs. And besides, Nana would never ask Irene to help with the presents…that’s Santa’s job. Remember?!?” QUENTIN: (PERPLEXED FOR THE FIRST TIME) “Well then, who did put the gifts under the tree? And, just where is Irene and Nana?” REGINA: (SIGHS AS SHE FEELS THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SHE HAS BEEN HEARD) “That’s what I’ve been asking, honey.” TREVOR: (SITTIING AND STRETCHING HIS ARMS) “Ahhh…morning Mom and Dad.” (QUICKLY JUMPS AND STARES AT PACKGES) “Wow! Look at all these presents! Merry Christmas, everyone! (LOOKING CONSPIRATORILY AT PARENTS) “Well, somebody has been very busy last night. Huh, guys?!?” REGINA AND QUENTIN: (POINT TO EACH OTHER FROM OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE ROOM AND AT THE SAME TIME) ‘Your Father was the one who…” “Your Mother was the one who…”

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REGINA AND QUENTIN: (STOP AND GLARE AT EACH OTHER FOR ONE BRIEF MOMENT THEN ANSWER EACH OTHER AT THE SAME TIME) “No I didn’t…you were the one who…” “No I didn’t…you were the one who…” TREVOR: (INTERRUPTS PARENTS AND WALKS TO CENTER STAGE WHERE HE HOLDS OUT ARMS TO BOTH IN CONCILIATION) “Sure. Sure…I know folks. You didn’t move the packages…” (BOTH SHAKE HEADS TO SAY ‘THAT’S RIGHT’) ‘Santa brought these packages last night. Right, gang?!? Yeah! Yeah, that’s it…Santa brought these packages!” (NODS TO BOTH AS IF ALL THREE ARE NOW PART OF CONSPIRACY) REGINA AND QUENTIN: (LOOK AT EACH OTHER INCREDULOUSLY AND ANSWER AT SAME TIME) “Well…I didn’t move them. Your Father…” “Well…I didn’t move them. Your Mother…” TREVOR: (ANXIOUS TO SEE PRESENTS, WALKS QUICKLY TO PRESENTS) “That’s OK, Mom and Dad, have it your way. That’s OK, really. Say, where is Irene and Nana this fine Christmas morning” (BENDS DOWN AND LOOKS FOR PACKAGES WITH HIS NAME) REGINA AND QUENTIN: (AGAIN QUICKLY AND TOGETHER) “They are missing, Trevor. They are simply NOT here. I…” “They are around, Trevor. They are somewhere near. I…” (BOTH LOOK EACH OTHER INCREDULOUSLY AGAIN, THEN SAY) “No they are not! They are missing, not here!” “No they are not! They are here, somewhere!” TREVOR: (MOVES AS HE SHAKES THE GIFTS) “Well, we know they are somewhere, right? That much is for sure”

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REGINA: (MOVES QUICKLY TO TREVOR AND SEEMS TO PLEAD) “But where, Trevor? Where is you sister, Trevor? Please! Tell me now, Trevor.” TREVOR: (REALIZES SOMEHOW HE HAS BECOME THE SOURCE OF THE MYSTERY) “Tell you? Mom, I don’t know where they are. Really! I just woke up. Really I just did. Right, Dad?” (LOOKS FOR HELP FROM QUENTIN. ALL SEEM TO HEAR THE SLEIGH BELLS THAT ARE JINGLING OUTSIDE IN THE DISTANCE WHEN REGINA INTERRUPTS) REGINA: (LOOKS AT TREVOR WITH ACCUSATORY STARE) “Trevor…is this your idea of some kind of funny trick?” (TREVOR SERIOUSLY SHAKES HEAD NO) “Trevor, now tell me, Trevor…where is Irene? I simply must know…now!” (A SOFT KNOCK AT THE DOOR IS HEARD. QUENTIN STARTS TO MOVE TOWARD THE DOOR) TREVOR: (LAUGHING A BIT) “A trick? You think I hid Irene and Nana on Christmas morning as a trick? Mom, please! I don’t know where Irene or Nana are…really, I don’t know.” (SOFT KNOCK AT DOOR IS REPEATED) TREVOR: (HE AND HIS MOTHER, OBLIVIOUS TO IRENE’S ENTRY, ARE VERY CLOSE TO EACH OTHER AT CENTER STAGE) “Mom, really, I don’t know where Irene is. Really.” REGINA: (MUCH MORE STERN AND WORRIED) “Now, Trevor, tell me. You won’t be in trouble, I promise.” QUENTIN: (OPENS DOOR AND IRENE JUMPS IN HIS ARMS. QUENTIN KISSES IRENE) “Here she is! Merry Christmas, Irene!”

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IRENE: (JUMPS OUT OF DAD’S ARM. SHE IS WEARING HER ‘I BELIEVE’ NIGHT SHIRT, A THICK RED CHRISTMAS ROBE, OVER-SIZED RED SLIPPERS AND CARRYING A BEAUTIFULLY COLORED ASIAN ‘DOLL OF THE WORLD.’ SHE IS BRIGHT AND CHEERFUL) “Merry Christmas, everyone! Merry Christmas!” TREVOR AND REGINA: (QUICKLY LOOK AT IRENE AND SAY IN UNISON IN OFF HAND MANNER) “Merry Christmas, Irene.” (THEN BOTH INTENTLY RETURN TO THEIR CONVERSATION AND SAY AT SAME TIME) “Now, Trevor, you simply must tell me…” “Now, Mother, I have nothing to tell you…” (QUENTIN AND IRENE LOOK AT EACH OTHER SMILE BROADLY AND SHRUG SHOULDERS IN AMUSEMENT) REGINA: (LOOKS AGAIN AT TREVOR) “Now, Trevor, for the last time…” (SUDDENLY SHE REALIZES IRENE IS IN THE ROOM) “Oh, my darling Irene. You have been found! You have been found! This is my best Christmas ever!” (WHOLE FAMILY RUNS TO CENTER, HUG AND KISS EACH OTHER AND SAY) “Merry Christmas, everyone! Merry Christmas!” REGINA: (STANDS BACK A BIT FROM FAMILY AND LOVINGLY LOOKS AT IRENE) “My darling Irene. You had me so worried! Just where were you, my dear?” REGINA: (STANDS A BIT BACK FROM FAMILY AND LOVINGLY HOLDS IRENE’S HANDS) “Why, you are so warm, dear. Just where have you been?” (SUDDENLY SHE REMEMBERS NANA IS STILL MISSING) “And Nana! Nana is still missing! Where is Nana, dear?”

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IRENE: (REACTING EXCITEDELY TO PRESENTS WHICH SHE SEES FOR FIRST TIME) “Oh Nana is fine, she’s fine. She’ll come back again. Wow! Look at these presents, Trevor, Santa did come last night, just like he and Grandpa promised!” REGINA: (SURPRISED) “Just like Grandpa promised?!?” TREVOR: (EXCITED AS HE CONTINUES TO LOOK FOR PACKAGES WITH HIS NAME) “Here, Irene, here’s one for you from Nana and Santa. Feel how heavy it is. I think it’s a book!” IRENE: (GRABS THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY WRAPPED PACKAGE AND HOLDS IT TIGHTLY IN BOTH ARMS) “Yeah! This is wonderful. I know what this is! I know what this is! Nana and Santa promised me a treasure with stories and pictures about Dr. Herbert’s Children’s Christmas Band. Oh, the children sing so wonderfully! And, they are so much fun. Mom, you’ll love them!” (IRENE RUNS AND HUGS MOM TIGHTLY AGAIN) REGINA: (SOMEWHAT SURPRISED BY BOOK BUT STILL WORRIED ABOUT NANA) “Umm, a book from Nana and Santa about Dr. Herbert’s Children’s Christmas Band? Umm, now why does that sound so familiar? I wonder…but more importantly, where is Nana, Irene?” IRENE: (GIGGLING) “Oh, you are so silly, Mommy! Of course it sounds familiar. Dr. Herbert is your Grandpa. Remember, Mommy? He’s your Grandpa, Nana’s Daddy, and Trevor and mine Great-grandpa! Remember, silly?!? Why, he’s a very funny man with a very pretty moustache and beautiful voice. And, can those kids sing too!” REGINA: (A BIT EMBARRASSED BY HER FORGETFULNESS) “Of course I remember Dr. Herbert…he’s my Grandfather. It’s just that I haven’t thought about

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him or his children’s band recently, that’s all…I mean, I’ve been so busy with work…and you kids!” IRENE: (HUGGING HER MOM TIGHTLY AND REASSURING HER WITH KINDNESS) “Oh that’s OK, Mommy. Really it is. Dr. Herbert understands, really he does. And he loves us all and thinks about us…you, and Daddy, Trevor, and Nana and I all the time. Really he does.” REGINA: (LAUGHS A BIT SHYLY AND SADLY) “And I think about him and Grandma Ruth often, too, really I do. They were such a wonderful couple and he was such a marvelous man, so young and caring and so full of life.” (VOICE AND THOUGHTS TRAIL OFF IN DEEP THOUGHT. THEN SHE RETURNS ALL TOO QUICKLY TO THE PRESENT) “But that was so long ago and today is today… Christmas morning. Say, young lady, when did you learn so much about Dr. Herbert? And…where is Nana?” IRENE: (EXCITED AS SHE GOES TO CENTER) “Last night, Mommy. Last night Grandpa, Dr. Herbert, took Nana and I to the North Pole in a sleigh that was pulled by 8 reindeer to sing for Santa and his family. It was so fun and Santa and everyone loved our singing!” REGINA: (LAUGHING BIT WORRIEDLY) “Now, honey, you are the one that’s being silly. What an imagination you have, young lady. Of course you and Nana pretended to go the North Pole last night. It’s quite healthy for someone your age to have an overactive imagination! A vibrant fantasy life is stimulating for young people. Now” (MORE SERIOUSLY) “where is your Grandmother? It’s quite nasty outside you know.” IRENE: “Pretending? Imagining? A vibrant and stimulating fantasy life?” (LAUGHING SHE SITS ON COUCH AS TREVOR JOINS HER) “Really, Mother! Nana and I had a wonderful Christmas Eve with Santa and Grandpa and all the

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children in the band. I do wish you could have joined us, Mommy! It was such fun.” (BEGINS TO LOVINGLY CARESS THE BEAUTIFULLY WRAPPED PACKAGE AND DELICATELY UNWRAPS IT) REGINA: (MOST OF THE MORNING ENTHUSIASM IS OUT OF HER VOICE BY NOW) “Young lady, you are certainly old enough to know the difference between real life…the here and now…and a fantasy life. This…this room and your family are real. That” (WAVES ARE WILDLY ACROSS THE CEILING) “the North Pole, Santa, Grandpa Herbert and his Children’s Christmas Band…that, young lady, is fantasy!” IRENE: (TREVOR AND IRENE ARE EXCITEDLY LOOKING AT PAGE IN THE BOOK THAT IRENE HAS UNWRAPPED) “Fantasy? Oh, Mother…please…don’t be so modern!” TREVOR: (OBVIOUSLY ENJOYING THE BOOK WITH IRENE) “Well, Mom, if this is fantasy” (POINTING TO BOOK) “Irene and Nana are certainly enjoying themselves in fantasy land! Look at these pictures of Irene and Nana. Why, there’s Santa and Mrs. Claus! Wow, and look at those funny elf costumes! Irene, who is this man with the moustache?” QUENTIN: (QUICKLY RUNS TO COUCH AND SITS NEXT TO KIDS WITH IRENE IN THE MIDDLE) IRENE: (EXCITEDLY) “Why, that’s Grandpa. And that’s me singing with the Children’s Christmas Band. See how much fun we’re having! Look how much we are laughing!” QUENTIN: (PERPLEXED) “Irene, this fantasy of yours is fantastic! Just where do these pictures…and book…come from?”

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REGINA: (REMAINS STANDING BEHIND THE COUCH, ALONE AND ANXIOUS ABOUT NANA) IRENE: (ANIMATEDLY) “From Santa and Nana! Grandpa says these days you can do anything with computers!” REGINA: (FOLDS ARMS AND DISAGREES) “Certainly, including the digital creation of scenes…pure digital photographic fantasy.” QUENTIN: (LOOKING OVER SHOULDER TO REGINA WHO IS STANDING BEHIND THEM) “Honey, look at these pictures, please. They are so real” (IRENE AND TREVOR CONTINUE TO TURN PAGES) REGINA: “Exactly my point! Now, Irene, where is Nana?” IRENE: (EARNESTLY) “Mommmm…Nana is with Grandpa and the children at Santa’s house at the North Pole. She’ll be back next Christmas Eve. I promise.” REGINA: (WALKS TO FRONT OF COUCH AND STARES DOWN AT THE THREE) “Young lady, this fantasy game of yours has gone entirely too far. Where…is…Nana?” QUENTIN: (STANDS, MAKES ROOM FOR REGINA ON THE COUCH, THEN PHYSICALLY SITS REGINA BETWEEN HE AND IRENE) “Honey, look at these pictures. Please. This is more than fantasy. Here, look for yourself.” REGINA: (RELUCTANTLY AND SLOWLY LOOK AT THE PICTURES THEN TURNS THE PAGES MUCH MORE INTENTLY) “Irene…these pictures…are… unbelievable! There is you…Nana…Grandpa…Santa…and all the little children. How did this happen?”

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IRENE: (SMILING BROADLY) “I don’t know, Mom, really I don’t. It just did! Really, Mom, you gotta believe me!” REGINA: (PERPLEXED) “Believe you?” IRENE: (ENTHUSIASTICALLY) “Yes, Mom…believe…that’s all…just believe!” (QUENTIN, REGINA AND TREVOR ALL LOOK AT EACH OTHER AS IRENE STANDS AND MOVES TO CENTER STAGE) “Just believe, please. The rest is easy.” QUENTIN, REGINA, AND TREVOR: (TOGETHER) “Just believe, you say? Just believe?” IRENE: (EMPHATICALLY) “Yes, that’s it! Just believe. It’s that simple, really.” ALL: (LOOK UP AND LOOK OUTSIDE AS SOUNDS OF SLEIGH BELLS AND LOTS OF LAUGHING KIDS PEAK VOLUME AND THEN FADE AWAY) IRENE: (LOOKING OUTISDE AND RUNNING TO WINDOW) “It’s Nana and Grandpa! They’re going home! Bye, Nana! Bye, Grandpa. See you next year!” REGINA: (COMPLETELY PERPLEXED LOOKS TO QUENTIN AND TREVOR) “Just believe?” (THEN WITH GROWING ENTHUSIASM AND CONVICTION) “Just believe, boys! Just believe!” IRENE: (RUNS TO REGINA’S LAP AND HUGS HER MOM) “That’s it, Mom!” ALL: (ALL STAND AND RAISE HANDS TOGETHER AS THEY SAY) “That’s it, people. Just believe!” THE END

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Dr. Herbert's Children's Christmas Band