[The stage is empty, dark. The narrators enter one by one to say their lines in booming voices.]
Narrator 1: Welcome, parents!
Narrator 2: Welcome, friends!
Narrator 3: Welcome, teachers!
Narrator 4: Welcome, students!
Narrator 5: Welcome, spirits!
Narrator ALL: We are the narrators of this story. [Clap twice.]
Narrator 1: We are here to tell you a story!
Narrator 2: A sweet story.
Narrator 3: A sad story. [Offer the audience Kleenex.]
Narrator 4: A story about adventure!
Narrator 5: A story about Christmas!
Narrator 1: A story about… ghosts!
Narrator 2, 3, 4, and 5: Ghosts?!
Narrator 1: Oh yes, dear audience. Let’s start by getting one thing straight: MARLEY was dead to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Narrator 4: A door-nail? Why not a hang nail?
Narrator 1: I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a hang nail – or better yet, a coffin-nail -- as the deadest nail in the trade.
Narrator 3: Ah yes, but the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and our unhallowed hands shall not disturb it…
Narrator 1: You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail. [Emphasize these last words.]
[Scrooge comes on stage. He does not see the narrators.]
Narrator 2: Scrooge knew he was dead?
Narrator 3: Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were business partners for I don’t know how many years. Scrooge was Marley’s boss, his only friend, and even the only mourner at his funeral. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, except to say…
Scrooge: [Says as if to himself.] It was a pity to loose such a good man of business.
Narrator 5: [While bringing the shop sign on stage.] Perhaps that is why Scrooge never painted out Old Marley’s name on the shop sign. [Scrooge enters the counting house and works on his legers.] There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley, even though Marley, as we mentioned, was…
Narrators ALL: dead as a doornail!
Narrator 5: …and had long ago been replaced by Bob Cratchit.
[Enter Bob Cratchit. He scampers to work and begins working on legers. He occasionally breaths on his hands, as if cold.]
Narrator 2: Bob Cratchit was a kindly gentleman who, if anything, was just plain too nice for the likes of Scrooge.
Narrator 4: Bob Cratchit had a family of four children, one of whom, Tiny Tim, had been crippled by disease. Bob Cratchit supported his family with this job, even though Scrooge, that cheap miser, barely paid him enough to put mittens on his hands, even though it was bitter cold that Christmas Eve.
Narrator 1: And that brings us to the story at hand where, once upon a time…
Narrator ALL: once upon a Christmas Eve,
Narrator 1: Scrooge sat busy in his counting house…
[Bob Cratchit is warming his hands over a very small fire.]
BOB: Er… Mr. Scrooge, sir?
SCROOGE: (Sighs deeply and begrudgingly looks at Bob. He is clearly upset to be disturbed.) What now, Cratchit?
Bob: Er… well, sir… It’s just that it’s a very cold day, and, er, my fingers are so cold, they’re stiff, which, well, makes it hard to work. So, um, I wondered if maybe we could put another coal on the fire?
SCROOGE: Another coal? Do know how much coal costs, Cratchit? Do you? What are you trying to do, bankrupt me? Every penny counts, Cratchit. Get back to work!
BOB: Yessir. [Bob slinks back to his desk. He is very cold. He continues to rub his hands.] Oh… and Merry Christmas Eve, sir.
SCROOGE: Bah! Humbug!
Outside, it’s snowing. From offstage, the audience hears carolers (backstage members) start to sing “Tis the Season to be Jolly.” A CAROLER comes on stage with a sled.
CAROLER: [Finishes song as solo.(The CAROLER has the option to choose the song.)]
SCROOGE: Pipe down out there! We’re trying to work!
CAROLER: But sir! It’s Christmas Eve!
SCROOGE: [Aggressively] Bah! Humbug!
CAROLER: [Runs off stage, scared. Almost bumps into NEPHEW, who has come on stage.]
*Pick up original script here (pg. 1) where NEPHEW comes on stage (cut the first NARRATOR line).
At the end of the Act, replace page 8 with the following:
NARRATOR 1: Scrooge tried to say, “Humbug”…
NARRATOR 2: but stopped at the first syllable.
NARRATOR 3: And perhaps it was from the emotion he had undergone…
NARRATOR 4: or the fatiques of the day…
NARRATOR 5: or his glimpse of the invisible world…
NARRATOR 1: or the conversation with the Ghost…
NARRATOR 2: or the lateness of the hour…
NARRATOR 3: he went straight to bed…
NARRATOR 4: without undressing…
NARRATOR 5: and fell asleep on the instant.
[Scrooge makes snoring sounds as if asleep.]
NARRATOR 1: And now, dear audience, we bid you adieu.
NARRATOR 2: With the end of Act I comes the end of our lives, too.
NARRATOR 3: Do not worry, though, for others will take our places with the beginning of Act 2.
NARRATOR 4: Another will take his place, too. [Points toward Scrooge.]
NARRATOR 5: So keep your eyes peeled. At the strike of 1 o’clock, a new ghost will appear.
NARRATOR 1: Just as Marley promised!
NARRATOR 5: And also at the strike of 1 o’clock, a new Scrooge will appear.
NARRATOR 2: This one will be slightly shorter.
NARRATOR 3: And now, dear audience, we say goodnight!
NARRATOR 5: Goodnight!
NARRATOR 4: Goodnight!
NARRATOR 2: Until next time…
NARRATOR 1: Adieu!
[Narrators bow to signal end of scene.]