A CHRISTMAS CAROL
A street in the business district of
London. The most prominent
establishment: “Scrooge & Marley’s
Counting House.” Christmas Eve. 1843.
Approximately 2:00 p.m.
The street is teeming with people, all
in a holiday rush, greeting each other
After a moment, NEDDY, a boy of 16 or
so, races out of “Scrooge & Marley’s
Counting House” and leaps into the
crowd. Hot on his heels, out of the
establishment, comes BOB CRATCHIT, who
appears to be in a dither over Neddy’s
Neddy! Neddy, get back in here at once! You know Mr.
Scrooge won’t allow any time off in the middle of a work day!
Work day, indeed, Bob Cratchit!
Did you hear that, lads! A work day, indeed!
(the revelers laugh)
(catches up with Neddy)
Get back inside, Neddy! If he catches you out here...
It’s Christmas Eve, Bob! Ever heard of the day? Christmas
Eve! Tell ‘im, my friends! What day is it?
Christmas Eve to Mr. Scrooge is no different from any other
day! You’ve only been working for him a few weeks, Neddy!
You don’t know him as well as I do!
Well, I know him well enough to know he’s off to Grovsner
Square on business and won’t be back this afternoon or this
He told you that?
He did! And he told me to tell you we should take the rest
of the day off!
Mr. Scrooge said that?
That he did!
That’s extremely strange...
So enjoy yourself, why don’t you, Bob Cratchit! You’re
always mopin’ around with a frightened look on your mug! Be
Yes, Bob! Cheerful! You remember how to be cheerful don’t
ya? Just make yourself feel happy...
(grabs passing girl, flings her
into Cratchit’s arms)
...and then DO somethin’ about it!
(he starts them dancing; Bob
The Carolers sing and the crowd erupts
into gleeful dancing. Neddy swaths a
path through the crowd, dragging Bob
with him. He hoists Bob up on a
platform, and coaxes him to dance.
Eventually, Bob gives in and breaks
into a lively solo dance atop the
platform. The crowd watches this and
enjoys it thoroughly.
Then, breaking his way through the
crowd, SCROOGE enters, in a rage. He
tears through the people, knocking one
or two folks to the ground in his haste
and anger. He waves his walking stick
in protest and screams at the top of
his lungs, attempting to quiet the
STOP! CEASE! STOP THIS, I TELL YOU! STOP THIS IMMEDIATELY!
(he lifts himself up onto the
platform where Bob is dancing
oblivious to the interruption)
I SAY STOOOOOOOPPPPPP!!!!
The noise of the crowd ceases
instantly. Bob, lost in his joy, keeps
dancing away. Everything has stopped-the
singing, the music, the cheer. But
Bob keeps dancing and singing.
Finally, after a moment, Bob turns in
his dance, and ends up face to face
(after a beat staring Bob down)
Enjoying yourself, are you, Bob?
(frozen in panic)
Yes, sir. No, sir. Maybe, sir. Well, sir...
QUIET! Quiet, Bob Cratchit before I lose control of my good
nature! Who put you up to this?
Well, Mr. Scrooge, I can’t really say that I...
Don’t lie to me, Cratchit, you don’t have the intestinal
fortitude to participate in such an exercise in stupidity as
this without some kind of provocation! It was that new
apprentice, wasn’t it? Ned Percival! Why, I curse the day I
was talked into hiring him. Where is he?
(beat; Neddy attempts to sneak
Come, speak up, Cratchit! Where is that ridiculous boy?
Percival, put your weasly little face in front of mine this
(Neddy makes his way to the
Now! Tell me the truth! Was it you who put Cratchit up to
Please, sir, Neddy had nothing to do...
Quiet, Cratchit, I’m addressing his weasly face, not yours!
Yes, sir. I lied to him. I told Bob you’d be away for the
afternoon and that you’d told us to take the rest of the day
Well, then...I understand. I appreciate your telling me the
You do, sir?
Of course, I do. And as a display of my appreciation, I am
officially giving you the rest of the day off!
Why, thank you, sir!
And while you’re at it, take tomorrow off! And the next day!
And the next!
In fact, take the rest of your life off! Consider yourself
(Neddy, runs off; the crowd
And as for the rest of you, I advise you to remove your
sweating, frivolous carcasses from the front of my place of
business! If you remain here one second longer, I shall
summon the constabulary! Off with you now! Go! Go!!!
Grumbling, the crowd disperses.
Scrooge steps off the platform and goes
to the door of his office. Bob crawls
off the platform and begins to walk
And where do you think you’re going?
Why, Mr. Scrooge, I assumed...I was...I assumed you would...
Oh, you assumed, did you? Well, let me tell you what you can
assume from now on, Bob Cratchit.
You can assume that I expect you to stay at your post one
extra hour every day for the next six months with no increase
of salary. You can assume that I will not stand for any
further display of insubordination or malingering from you
from this day forward! And to use the word in a different
but equally viable context, you can assume the office duties
of one Mr. Neddy Percival, apprentice, no longer affiliated
with this business establishment.
Now, get to work!
(rushes to door)
Thank you, Mr. Scrooge! Thank you so very...
(assesses the situation)
Scrooge heads into his office as the
Carolers sing downstage and the
INTERIOR OF SCROOGE AND MARLEY’S
COUNTING HOUSE appears. Visible are
Cratchit’s desk, and Scrooge’s inner
office. Near Cratchit is a very tiny
coal burning stove. In Scrooge’s
office, there is a much larger stove.
6:00 p.m., later on that same Christmas
The singing fades away. Bob sits at
his desk, feverishly working. Scrooge
also scribbles in a ledger at his desk.
Bob is very cold. He looks warily
towards Scrooge’s inner office. He
steels himself, and tiptoes to the coal
bin near Scrooge’s door. He carefully
reaches in for a piece of coal.
(without looking up)
(drops coal; returns to desk)
The door to the office opens, and FRED,
Hurry now, Fink! Entwhistle!
Good afternoon, Bob! Merry Christmas to you!
(careful; checking; whispering)
And...uh...Merry Christmas to you, too, sir!
(playfully, whispering also;
nodding towards Scrooge’s
Oh! Are we pulling back the reins of holiday cheer once
I’m sorry, sir I’m a little skittish today, you see, I...
Fred casually takes a piece of coal out
of the bin and replenishes Bob’s stove.
Of course you’re skittish, it’s frightfully cold in here!
Oh, but sir, I...
Ssh! I don’t want you sick when my wife and I stop by to
visit you tomorrow. We have some gifts for your children.
Why, sir! How thoughtful of you! We’ll be there!
(looks toward Scrooge’s office;
At least, I think I’ll be there.
You’ll be there!
(whisks to Scrooge’s door)
Uncle! I’m sorry you weren’t disposed to enjoying the
Christmas Carols this afternoon!
The day I appreciate something as imbecilic as singing about
...is the day Bob Cratchit becomes a person of position!
Again, the door of the shop opens. Two
mature businessmen, FINK and
ENTWHISTLE, enter, Entwhistle holding a
ledger book. Each man is somewhat
(before Bob can respond)
He’s not in. Let’s go!
(starts to pull Fink out)
Of course, he’s in, gentlemen! I promised you he would be!
It’s late in the afternoon on a festive holiday eve! The
world is laughing, singing and dancing! Where else would
Ebenezer Scrooge be but at his work desk!
I think we should come back another time.
Oh, sometime soon. Easter.
Gentlemen! Come with me! I’m sure my uncle will be more
than happy to contribute to your cause! Please! Step right
Timidly, the two gentlemen step with
Fred into Scrooge’s inner office.
Scrooge keeps his head to his ledger
and works even more feverishly.
Uncle! We’re all here to wish you a...
Oh, yes! I’d forgotten. Bah. Humbug.
Would you mind telling me why my office is crowded with
impertinent relatives and unidentified street people!
Why, Uncle, we are here to tap the well of your generosity.
We seek to entreat you to aid the poor and sick and
distressed this festive season.
Is the establishment still called “Scrooge & Marley’s” sir?
Why wouldn’t it be?
Well, seeing as Mr. Marley is no longer with us...
He died seven years ago, this very night, in fact. He
finished the work day, though, didn’t he Uncle!
It is called what it is called! What do you want?
Uh...as you may know, Mr. Scrooge, at this festive season of
the year, our charitable association takes it upon itself to
gather funds for the poor and destitute. This year,
Entwhistle here and I have been...chosen to call upon you.
We drew straws...
Uncle, I’m certain you’ll be happy to...
Are there no prisons?
Prisons, sir? Well, of course there are prisons...
And the Union workhouses? Still in operation?
Unfortunately, sir, they are, but...
I’m glad to hear it.
Of course, many unfortunates still fall through the cracks,
sir and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to...
(nudges Entwhistle again to
What shall we put you down for?
You wish to be anonymous?
I wish to be ignored! If merry is to be made, let it be made
without me! I help to support the establishments I’ve
mentioned. They cost enough, and those who are badly off
must go there.
Many can’t go there!
And many would rather die!
Is that so? Well, then--let them. I approve of dying. It
decreases the surplus population.
It is not my business! It was hard work and destiny, not
charity, that have shaped my life. I don’t interfere with
your business, I demand you not interfere with mine! Good
But I...I don’t...
(looks to FRED, who shakes his
(starts out, stops and sees
Entwhistle, who is frozen in
shock with the ledger book
Entwhistle. Close the book.
They leave sheepishly. Fred, who has
been standing to the side, says
nothing. He just stares at Scrooge,
who continues to scribble in his
ledger. After a moment, again without
lifting his head, Scrooge speaks.
(a slow burn)
Can I...help you?
(after a beat)
Uncle! It’s Christmas!
(dropping his pen)
If I could work my will...every idiot who goes about with
“Merry Christmas” on his lips would be boiled with his own
pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.
Why are you still here!
Well, first and foremost I was here to help the gentlemen
with their charity work. Clearly I have failed at that
mission. Beyond that, I came here to wish you a Merry
Christmas, to hear you say “Bah! Humbug,” and to invite you
again to dinner tomorrow evening.
You did, did you? And what did you think I’d say to your
“Bah, Humbug,” of course.
Of course. Well, then...you have your answer.
Uncle, please, just...
(beat; very seriously)
It was not my fault.
Good God in heaven, man, will you never forgive me for
something over which I had no control?
I told you to get out of my office!
(Fred looks at Scrooge a
moment, then heads for the
Much good Christmas has ever done for you.
(Fred stops; Cratchit stops
working and listens)
What...reason have you to be merry?
Come to dinner and you’ll see. I have a wife and two
wonderful children. I have very close friends. I have a
modest job and sufficient income. I wake up in the morning
and embrace the day. And when Christmas comes around I share
my modest happiness with men and women who consent to open
their modest hearts freely and share their modest happiness
with me. And therefore, Uncle, though it has never put a
scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that
Christmas has done me good, and will do me good. And I say
God bless it!
At this, Cratchit can’t help himself
and bursts into applause. He catches
himself immediately and goes back to
Let me hear another sound from you, Cratchit, and you’ll keep
your Christmas by losing your situation!
My door is always open, Uncle.
(face in ledger; points to his
As is mine. Use it.
(as he leaves inner office;
heads to main door)
Merry Christmas to you Bob, and to your family.
Thank you, sir.
(at door; BELLS SOUND)
Seven o’clock, Bob. I should think you’d want to begin your
(loud enough for Scrooge to
If it’s convenient, sir...
(head in ledger)
It is not! It never is!
(quietly; to FRED)
It’ll be fine, sir. Thank you, sir. Happy Christmas.
Fred leaves. Bob gathers his things,
puts on his coat and hat, and silently
heads for the door. He reaches for the
knob, tries to remain completely
silent, when Scrooge, as always with
his head in the ledger, booms:
YOU BE HERE AT LEAST AN HOUR EARLY DAY AFTER TOMORROW!
(braces himself, then moves to
entrance of Scrooge’s inner
And, sir...if you don’t mind, sir, I’d truly like to wish
Don’t...don’t you dare. If you value your salary, if you
value your position, if you value your very spleen...don’t.
Day after tomorrow, sir.
(Bob goes to door, stops,
Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge.
Scrooge waits a moment, then gathers
his things, and heads for the door. We
hear Carolers in the distance. He
extinguishes the lamp, opens the door,
As he does, the Carolers enter
downstage and sing while the set
changes to the exterior of Scrooge’s
house. The Carolers leave, and Scrooge
enters, heading to his door. As he
approaches the door, a woman walks
towards him. She seems to know
Scrooge, but he defiantly avoids her
gaze. After they pass each other, she
calls to him. This is BELLE, Scrooge’s
age, a beautiful older woman.
(stops, doesn’t look at her)
Keep walking. Please. We have nothing to say to each other.
How can you speak for me? Perhaps I have something to say to
(still without looking)
A moment as Belle doesn’t move.
Finally, she turns and walks away.
Scrooge waits until he’s sure she’s
gone, then he continues to his doorway.
He reaches the doorway, which features
a small gold plate at its center.
Scrooge dips into his pocket for his
key. He can’t find it. He turns away.
As he does, the gold plate becomes the
FACE OF A MAN. This is the first
manifestation of MARLEY. The face in
the door speaks, ghoulishly.
Instantly Scrooge turns to the door,
and the face disappears.
What was that? Who called my name?
(looks around, sees nothing)
Now where is that confounded key!
Again he turns away. Again the face
appears in the gold plate and speaks.
This time the voice is accompanied by
WEIRD NOISES, STRANGE UNINTELLIGIBLE
VOICES and THUNDER.
Scrooge screams in abject fear and
leaps to hide under his stoop. As soon
as he hits the ground, the face
disappears and the noise stops. He
pauses, rises cautiously, then belches.
(looks down the street)
(he finds key)
Ah! Here it is!
He unlocks the door and enters his
house. As he does, the Carolers appear
downstage as the set change is
The carol ends, and we find ourselves
in SCROOGE’S SITTING ROOM.
GLADYS, Scrooge’s housekeeper, sets a
bowl, a small loaf of bread, a small
block of cheese and utensils on a table
in front of Scrooge’s chair. Gladys is
middle-aged and sharp-tongued.
She’s been with this man for years and
nothing fazes her anymore. As she
completes the setting of the table,
Scrooge enters, now in his smoking
jacket. Gladys stands to the side as
Scrooge, without acknowledging her,
sits at the table. He looks into the
What is it?
What kind of soup?
What are those little brown things?
Beef? What kind of beef?
Bits. Of beef. Beef bits. Will that be all?
Must you be so blunt?
Yes. Will that be all?
They stare each other down for the
longest time. Finally, Gladys wins.
That will be all!
Gladys smiles and leaves. Scrooge
starts to eat his soup and bread, as he
grumbles and mumbles.
“Will that be all?” Indeed. Thinks she can sass me like
Ah...phew...And a terrible cook to boot!
I don’t know why I put up with such impertinence. Well, what
can one expect from people of her class and upbringing? What
indeed...All I can do is set a good example and behave
Scrooge gorges his food, eating very
sloppily. After a moment, we hear in
the distance something that sounds like
RATTLING CHAINS. Scrooge lifts his
head, listens a moment. The sound
ceases. Again, he eats sloppily.
Again the SOUND is heard, louder this
time. Scrooge lifts his head again,
and calls to his hallway.
Hello? Who’s there?
The sound stops again. Scrooge listens
to the silence, goes back to work. In
a moment, there is a SOUND OF CHAINS
CRASHING to a surface. Then, the
HIDEOUS MOAN of a man is heard as the
chains continue to rattle. Scrooge
spits out the food that’s in his mouth,
and leaps beside his chair, perhaps
under his table. Again, silence.
Scrooge waits. And waits. Then he
carefully begins to emerge from his
desk. Instantly, the CHAINS and
MOANING are heard again, much louder
than before. Scrooge retreats. As he
does, the LIGHTS in the room flicker
and dim. The SOUND of the chains are
joined by HEAVY FOOTSTEPS and SWIRLING
WIND and DISSONANT BELLS. The room
seems to shake. THUNDER. The MOANING
continues and increases. Scrooge
sticks his head out from under the
table and starts to wail in fright.
Then, BRIGHT SMOKE emerges from a spot
in the floor.
Rising from the smoke is a man, about
Scrooge’s age, far more withered, far
more decrepit. He is bathed in dust
and burdened with a chain, the links of
which seem to be made of cashboxes,
keys, ledgers, padlocks, deeds and
heavy purses wrought in steel.
This, of course, is the ghost of Jacob
(Scrooge only whimpers in
SCROOOOOOOOOOGE! SHOW YOURSELF, YOU SNIVELING, WHIMPERING
PIMPLE ON THE FACE OF HUMANITY!!!
(from beneath table)
Are you sure you have the right man?
WHO ARE YOU!
Ask me who I was.
Who were you, then?
In life, I was your partner, Jacob Marley!
Jacob Marley. But you can’t be.
And why not?
Because Marley is dead.
Do I look healthy to you?
Jacob! But...it’s impossible.
Believe in me, Ebenezer! Believe in me or suffer my fate!
(emerging from beneath table)
I will not! I will not believe in you! This is merely...a
slight disorder of my stomach. Badly prepared food is all it
is! I’ll never let that woman in my kitchen again.
You...you are simply an undigested bit of beef...a crumb of
SCROOGE & MARLEY
...fragment of an underdone potato...
I know. I know. I’ve heard it all before.
There’s more of gravy than of grave about you!
At this, Marley lets out a FRIGHTFUL
WAIL, horrible beyond belief. The room
shakes, the CHAINS clank, the THUNDER
roars. The LIGHTS FLICKER wildly.
Scrooge screams in terror and retreats
to underneath his table.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN ME OR DO YOU NOT!!!
(again sticks his head out)
Oh, I do! I do! But why do you trouble me?
It is my lot. In death, I am doomed to walk the Earth among
my fellow men and witness the poverty and misery I have
inflicted upon so many people for so many years. I must
envision their torture, their pain, their constant struggle.
I must envision it now because I ignored it during my life!
He emits another WAIL with ACCOMPANYING
SOUNDS which force Scrooge back under
Please! Stop doing that!
Know me, now, Ebenezer Scrooge! Know me and fear me, for I
am who you are.
(sticks head out; beat)
Well...perhaps...for one little difference.
You’re dead. I’m not!
Another WAIL. Again Scrooge hides.
I wear the chain I forged in life! I was a loathsome and
hideous individual! Only one man left on Earth surpasses me
in malevolence and greed! Only one man will walk through the
blackness of the nether world with a heavier burden than I!
Wakefield, the butcher?
Timberlake, the tailor?
Ah! Periwinkle, the banker!
(another CACOPHONY of SOUND)
(emerges from under desk)
Oh, Jacob! Oh, Jacob, please! Speak comfort to me! Jacob!
I CANNOT! It is merely my place to show you the results of a
life wasted, a life misused, a life that was not a life at
all! A life so very much like yours!
But you were always a good man of business, Jacob!
Business! Mankind was my business! The common welfare was
All right! All right! I was just trying to help!
HEAR ME! My time is nearly gone! How I may appear to you in
a shape which you can see, I cannot tell. I have spent many
an hour these seven years, invisible to you, but with you
(shivers at this thought)
You’ve been...with me? All these seven years?
Oh. How nice for you.
IT IS PART OF MY PENANCE! But tonight, I am here to warn you
that you have yet a chance to escape my fate.
Oh, Jacob! You are so kind! To spare me from further
terror. How will you save me, Jacob? Will you place your
hand on my heart and bless me? That would be good. Or will
you recite a prayer to guide me? That would be very good.
Or will you simply look gently into my eyes and wish me well
and then leave me alone? That would be very, very good.
I will send three ghosts to haunt you!
That’s not good.
You will obey their instructions to the letter!
I think...I’d rather not.
The choice is not yours, if you are to be saved. You want to
be saved, do you not?
Well, being saved is good, I’ll say that, but the haunted
EXPECT THE FIRST TONIGHT! When the bell tolls one!
How about...you get ‘em all over here now, at the same time?
You could introduce me and...
EXPECT THE SECOND TOMORROW NIGHT, at the same hour. And the
third the next night when the last stroke of twelve has
ceased to vibrate.
Do you have to get so dramatic about it?
Another CACOPHONY OF SOUND, as before.
Scrooge hides one last time. Again,
the BRIGHT SMOKE emerges from the
floor, and Marley begins to sink out of
REMEMBER WHAT HAS PASSED BETWEEN US, EBENEZER SCROOGE!
REMEMBER THE FEAR, REMEMBER THE HORROR, REMEMBER THE TERROR!
AND KNOW THAT WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN TO YOU IS EITHER GOING
TO SAVE YOU, OR LEAD YOU TO THE BLACKEST OF BLACK DEATH!
A final CACOPHONY OF SOUND as Marley’s
ghost disappears into the fireplace.
Instantly, Scrooge’s room is as it was
before Marley’s appearance, though the
quiet of the night has enveloped the
Scrooge stands, frozen. Carefully, he
approaches the spot in the floor where
the ghost appeared. He taps on the
spot with his foot, and scurries away.
Nothing happens. He steps back to the
same place, taps harder, and again runs
away. Nothing. Once more he goes
back, and jumps up and down on the
spot. Nothing. He takes a long, deep
breath. He goes over to his half-eaten
meal, lifts up the plate, and grimaces.
Bah! Bad food! That’s all it is! I consume a bit of bad
food and I belch up Marley! Bah! Bah! HUMBUG!!!
He steps over to the spot again, and
looks directly at it.
Do you hear me? HUMBUG!!!
Instantly, all the NOISES return in
cacophonous splendor for a brief,
spectacular flash. Scrooge screams and
runs out of the room. LIGHTS OUT on
the sitting room.
Downstage, the Carolers appear. As
they sing, SCROOGE’S BEDCHAMBER
At the conclusion of the song, LIGHTS
UP FULL on the bedchamber, where Gladys
prepares Scrooge’s bed, which is
surrounded by bed curtains. There is
also an elaborate, functioning
fireplace. As Gladys works, she hums a
cheery Christmas tune. Scrooge enters,
now fully dressed in bed clothing, cap
Here! What are you doing, woman?
Me name ain’t “woman.” Me name is Gladys. It’s been Gladys
these thirteen years I been your chambermaid. And in case
you haven’t been payin’ attention, what I’m doin’ is what I
been doin’ at this time of night, every night, for each one
of them thirteen years. I’m openin’ up your bed curtains so
as to make it possible for you to slide into the bed easy
like rather than climb over the top and drop yourself down.
Is that supposed to be funny?
It’s supposed to be, but as I know the physical act of
laughin’ ain’t somethin’ your various body parts are equipped
to accommodate, I set it out there more along the lines of
You’re dismissed for the evening! Off with you!
(heads for door)
Me heart is broke.
I’ve already told me family you’ve refused to give me the day
tomorrow. They gave me a holiday wish to pass along to you,
but bein’ a Christian woman, I....
I need you here! Who will prepare my food?
Such as it is...What would happen to me if I went an entire
day without eating?
I’d be willin’ to take the chance.
Gladys leaves. Scrooge goes through a
ridiculous routine, preparing for bed.
It is very precise, silly and
outrageous. When it is completed, he
rolls back the covers, and leaps into
bed. An oil lamp glows at his bedside.
He reaches for the lamp, then stops
This isn’t good. Where is my mirror?
(he find a small hand mirror on
Scrooge! You must stop! You must not think any longer! You
are thinking about Marley and about the three ghosts and you
are not allowing yourself to sleep! You must stop thinking
immediately and close your eyes, for the Marley you think you
saw tonight was nothing more than the Marley you knew in real
life--an upset stomach! Stop thinking!
Scrooge puts down the mirror and plops
his head onto the pillow. He closes
Eyes closed. Not thinking.
Eyes closed. Not thinking.
Eyes closed. Not thinking.
(beat, as his eyes bulge open)
Eyes open. Thinking.
(he grabs mirror, looks)
What did I just tell you? Stop thinking!
The BELL BEGINS TO TOLL leading up to
the stroke of the hour. Scrooge
galvanizes in his bed. He reaches to
the watch fob on his side table. He
checks the time.
The hour of one approaches!
(ding ding ding dong)
Well, then, if Marley was indeed a ghost himself...
(ding dong ding dong)
...and not some gastronomical agitation...
(ding ding ding dong)
...then the spirit he foretold should appear...
(ding dong ding dong)
when the hour is struck...
(the clock strikes one)
(Scrooge waits, silence)
Nothing! Just as I suspected! No spirit whatsoever! I was
a fool to even think...well, as I said...
(looks into mirror again)
...thinking only gets you into trouble! I shall sleep like a
Scrooge puts down the mirror, reaches
for the oil lamp and snuffs it out. He
gathers up the bed curtains and closes
them around him. He SINGS A SWEET
LULLABY to himself. Nothing moves.
Then, suddenly, one of the bed curtains
lurches forward in the air. Scrooge
sticks his head out from inside the bed
What was that?
He closes the curtain and disappears.
Silence. Then, again, another lurch
from the bed curtain. Again, Scrooge
starts and sticks his head out.
There it is again! There is unaccountable activity in my
bed. I must be able to see...! What in the...
He opens all the bed curtains and leans
over to light the lamp. He settles
back in the bed, then reaches for the
bed cover, but before he can touch it,
it lurches. More GIGGLING. The bed
cover begins jumping up and down.
Scrooge screams and scurries around the
bed in fear, avoiding the lurches.
Finally, from the bottom of the bed, a
tiny woman plops to the floor. Her
name is MATILDA. She wears what looks
like a tunic, with a sprig of flowers
in her hair. She is a ball of energy,
and leaps around the room with delight.
I’m here! I made it! I can’t believe it! They told me I’d
never make it, but I did! I did! Are you Mr. Scrooge? Yes!
You are! I can tell by your grumpy old face! How wonderful!
Are you...the spirit whose coming was foretold to me?
Yes! Isn’t that amazing! I mean, there you were
just...trying to sleep and now here I am just...popping out
of your bed and it’s just so...so...
Well...who...and what...are you?
Oh, I’ve been waiting to say this for...forever!
I am the Ghost of Christmas Past!
Past? But how could you....how much past could you have?
How old are you?
Oh, not my past. Your past. I have no past. Except the
past minute or so. That was in my past. My past just
Impertinent! Enough! Why are you here?
Not so fast! I’m new at this! I want to savor the moment!
Yes. Savor. That means I want to take some time to...
I know what savor means you...you...
Ghost of Christmas Past!
What do you want with me?
I will bring you to revisit years gone by!
Because that’s what I do. Haven’t you been listening? I am
the Ghost of Christmas...
But what purpose would it serve?
The past holds the key to the future!
Nonsense! The past holds the key to nothing but nostalgia
and sentiment. Rubbish! Vulgar, plebian rubbish! I refuse
to waste my precious bedtime on such a trivial enterprise.
Oh...that is a shame.
What is a shame?
That you think you have any say in the matter. Come!
She raises her arms and the LIGHTS and
MUSIC pick up again. She swirls over
towards the fireplace. Scrooge is
swept with her. They stand in front of
the fireplace. MATILDA lifts her arms
and the FIREPLACE OPENS again, a
stunning SHAFT OF LIGHT appearing
through it when it does. MATILDA
points into the fireplace.
What??? I’m to step through there???
(holds out her hand)
Take my hand!
Bear but a touch of my hand, there, and you shall be upheld
in more than this!
Scrooge takes her hand. With the
LIGHTS AND MUSIC at full pitch, they
step through the open fireplace and
As they do, with MUSIC AND LIGHTS
dominating the atmosphere, the stage
area is transformed into SCROOGE’S
DORMITORY ROOM AT BOARDING SCHOOL, many
A GROUP OF CHILDREN enters, singing a
Christmas song. They swirl around the
room, dancing and singing. As they
continue, Scrooge and MATILDA appear
and enter the room. Scrooge watches
and enjoys the playful singing, then as
the children continue, Scrooge speaks.
My word! It’s my old room at school! Look! My books! My
dear and only friends! Look, there’s Ali Baba! And Robinson
Crusoe! And Aladdin! Oh, that wonderful Genie, how he kept
me company those cold winter nights!
As the song ends, the group of children
dance out of the room, leaving a
solitary boy sitting in a chair in the
center of the room, struggling to write
a letter. This is Ebenezer as a young
Oh! Boy! Boy! What are you...who are you...
These are but memories. They cannot see nor hear us.
The Boy puts down his pencil, and
“Dear Father...I hope you and Fan are well. All the boys have
left for the holiday, and I am here alone. The proctor
promises a fine Christmas dinner, and...
(takes up pen)
...and...I only wish...I could spend the holiday...
(he starts to weep; stops
writing; to himself)
...in my own home...
He’s writing a letter.
Why has he stopped? Why is he crying?
He is remembering. Think hard, and you will see what he
In Limbo, in a spot of light, SCROOGE’S
FATHER appears. He is a stern man in
Stop your whimpering! I told you, you are to stay at the
school the year-round. I will not have you here with us!
The memory is too painful. I have tried to make you
understand. You are old enough to understand and you’re
certainly intelligent enough to understand. I will raise
you. I will pay for your upbringing and your schooling. But
that is all I can do. You are here. Your mother is not.
And only you are to blame! I cannot forget that! So. It’s
very simple. Stop your blubbering and be a man!
The image of the Father disappears.
BOY EBENEZER breaks down crying.
My mother..caught a chill when my sister was a baby.
My father...he said I brought the chill into the house. My
I...I am this boy.
Let us see another Christmas.
In a swirl of LIGHT AND MUSIC, Scrooge
and the spirit move to another room.
EBENEZER, Scrooge at fifteen, sits in
the same chair, alone, as before. This
time, he’s reading. After a moment, he
throws the book to the floor,
distraught. There is a KNOCK ON THE
DOOR. Ebenezer looks to the doorway.
In runs FAN, his sister, about ten
(as she runs to Ebenezer)
Brother! Dear, dear brother!
Little Fan! Why...what are you doing here? Does Father
know? If he finds out, he...
Father is waiting in the coach, Ebenezer! We have come to
bring you home!
Home? Home, little Fan?
Yes! Father is so much kinder than he used to be. He spoke
gently of you the other night as I was going to bed, so I
dared ask him one more time if you could come home to be with
us. And Ebenezer, do you know what he did?
He cried! He cried and told me how much he missed you. How
badly he mistreated you. And he hugged me and told me he was
going to bring you home to be part of the family again!
Sister! This is...this is the most wonderful...
Oh, stop talking and go!
Oh, stop talking and go! This will be the merriest Christmas
Ebenezer and Little Fan rush away.
What a large heart in such a little girl!
She reminds me of...me!
I loved her so!
She died a young woman. With one child.
(reacting to Scrooge’s
Yes. Your nephew.
He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know what it’s been like
for me to...
Ssh! To another Christmas!
More ELABORATE MUSIC AND LIGHTS. The
scene changes to Fezziwig’s Warehouse.
When the scene change is complete,
Scrooge and MATILDA re-emerge and
FEZZIWIG appears in Limbo, checking his
pocket watch. He is a jolly, robust
man in his fifties.
Look! Look...is it? Could it be?
Fezziwig! Bless his heart! It’s Fezziwig alive again!
Ssh! Let the past speak to you!
Yo, there! Ebenezer! Dick!
Two young men in their twenties respond
to the call. One is Ebenezer, called
YOUNG SCROOGE for our purposes, the
other DICK, his friend and workmate.
(as the boys appear)
I was apprenticed here! My old workplace. I was made a man
in this establishment, I was! How wonderful to
see...Why...Dick Wilkins, to be sure! Bless me, yes! There
he is! He was very much attached to me, was Dick! Dear,
Yo, ho, my boys! No more work tonight! Christmas Eve, Dick!
Christmas, Ebenezer! Let’s have the shutters up and call in
the revelers before a man can say Jack Robinson!
Dick and Young Scrooge disperse and
call in all of Fezziwig’s employees,
who break into celebration mode
instantly. LIGHTS UP FULL ON
WAREHOUSE. MRS. FEZZIWIG dispenses
food and gifts to the employees.
There’s dancing and singing and fiddle
playing and eating and drinking and
Scrooge can hold himself back no longer
and dances and sings and revels among
all the others. Everybody else, of
course, except the spirit, is oblivious
to his participation.
As the celebration continues, Scrooge
spies Young Scrooge, his younger self,
in a corner with a beautiful young
Belle! Do you remember her?
(in some pain)
I knew you would! Listen...listen...
Scrooge does, as we begin to hear the
young people’s conversation.
I won’t always be an apprentice, you know! Someday I’ll be
rich! I’ll have more money than all these people put
Oh, Ebenezer...you know I don’t care about that.
Oh, but you should! You should hope that I achieve all my
goals and desires, for they will benefit you! If we are to
be married, I...
Ebenezer! You’ve never mentioned such a thing before!
Would such a thing be attractive to you?
I may be persuaded to explore...such a thing...
After all, with my sister Fan already married and having a
child, it’s time for me to catch up!
Young Scrooge takes a ring out of his
pocket, and puts it on Belle’s finger.
For you, my love.
Oh...Ebenezer! It’s so beautiful.
We will be happy, Belle! We will be happy and rich and
successful and powerful. I know it.
I’ll settle for happy, Ebenezer.
(as the young people embrace)
How lovely she was.
She is. Oh, she is...
As the celebration winds down and the
revelers disperse, thanking Fezziwig
elaborately, Scrooge eases back to the
Such a small matter...to make these silly folks so giddy and
thankful with a little money.
Oh, it isn’t the money, Spirit! He has the power to render
us happy or unhappy, to make our jobs light or burdensome, a
pleasure or a toil. The happiness he gives is as great as if
it cost a fortune.
Scrooge steps to the side, thinking.
I got you thinking! I knew I could do it!
No...it’s just that...I should like to be able to say a word
or two to my clerk just now. That’s all.
I only have a few more minutes! Listen! The same couple.
The same room. But a year has passed...
Instantly, we see Belle sitting in a
chair, with Young Scrooge pacing in
front of her.
Well, I am...astonished. This is the most outrageous...Why,
may I ask?
Another idol has displaced me. It can cheer and comfort you
in time to come, as I would have tried to do, had you let me.
I don’t understand what you’re saying to me. What idol has
A golden one.
Oh, no! Not you, too! Fezziwig was failing! I rescued him!
Marley and I turned his business into our own and we’ve
succeeded! What is the harm in that? I am so tired of the
notion that there is nothing to condemn in this world more
than the pursuit of wealth.
The pursuit is one thing, Ebenezer! But when the pursuit is
all that there is, then I concede defeat. Look, Ebenezer,
what happened in your family was a terrible thing. I know
that...But you’ve not been the same man since...
(sloughing her off)
It was nobody’s fault! But it’s made it impossible for you
to trust anyone or anything in the world but the comfort your
wealth provides you.
That has nothing to do with it. I have achieved my
predestined station. Can you fault me for that?
You refuse to understand...
Belle, I love you. You know that. We belong together.
Everyone says so.
Everyone doesn’t know what I know. What you know. I’m
We are to be married.
No, Ebenezer. No. I love you. I will always love you. I
love who you were, who you wanted to be before...But that
person may never be again. I know that now. I remember the
life I used to see in your eyes. I remember loving that
life. I remember adoring those eyes.
Don’t you see the life any more?
Oh...oh, yes, I do.
Well, then, I...
I see it when you’re at the counting house. I see it when
you are running your fingers through the coins and notes you
acquire in your business dealings. I see it then, I see it
there, but I see it nowhere else.
This is...not fair.
May you be happy in the life you have chosen.
Belle steps away, stops, and removes
the engagement ring from her finger.
She gives it to Young Scrooge.
This belongs to the person you once were. Find him.
But, Belle, I...
Find him, Ebenezer.
I love you. Goodbye.
As Belle disappears, the light fades on
Young Scrooge, and comes up on Scrooge
and the spirits.
Spirit! Show me no more! Why do you delight in torturing
One shadow more!
No more! I don’t wish to see it! No more!
ONE SHADOW MORE!
They exit as MUSIC AND LIGHTS
accommodate a simple scene change to a
room in the CRATCHIT HOUSE. MARTHA
sits as her mother, MRS. CRATCHIT,
paces nervously. Scrooge and MATILDA
re-enter and observe.
Spirit, what is this place?
You’ll see. You’ll see.
Will Tim be all right, Mother?
Your father will tell us, Martha. The doctor is in there
BOB enters the room, wearily.
He should be comfortable for the night. The doctor has done
all he can.
If we could only afford to take him to hospital, to an
But that...that skinflint you work for...that...that
Ssh! Ssh, now...
Father? Will he live? Will Tiny Tim live?
Tell her. Go ahead! Tell her!
But, Spirit, I have to know! I must...
COME AWAY NOW!!!
The MUSIC AND LIGHTS slowly erupt
again. Scrooge tries to listen to the
conversation but the sound of the
voices is muffled. He can’t hear.
Spirit! Spirit, what are they saying! Why aren’t you
letting me hear this!!! Spirit! Spirit!
Scrooge falls to the floor, weeping at
the feet of the spirit. A CACOPHONY OF
MUSIC and A DAZZLING SPLASH OF LIGHT as
Matilda disappears and Scrooge
continues to weep. He is back in his
bedroom. There is deathly silence.
Everything, it seems, is as it was
before the spirit appeared.
Why, I...I must have...been asleep! Yes! That’s the answer!
(the clock strikes; ding ding
Another hour approaches!
(ding dong ding dong)
Which one will this be?
(ding ding ding dong)
I’ll soon know.
(ding dong ding dong; the clock
then strikes one)
One again! Why, no time has passed at all! It’s this
foolish dreaming of spirits and whatnot has me confused!
Enough! I must get my sleep and restore myself to my normal
state of health!
Suddenly, a dazzling display of SOUND
and LIGHT. From the back of his
bedroom, Scrooge is assaulted by a
BLINDING LIGHT, which thrusts him on
his back. Scrooge turns towards the
audience. We hear the bellowing voice
of The Ghost of CHRISTMAS PRESENT.
CHRISTMAS PRESENT (V.O.)
I AM THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT!!!! LOOK UPON ME, AND
KNOW ME BETTER!!!
The Ghost laughs heartily as Scrooge
cringes in fright.
END OF ACT ONE
No time has passed. Scrooge is still
on the floor, gazing at the Ghost of
CHRISTMAS PRESENT. He is an enormous
figure, with a bellowing voice and
grand manner. He sits on a throne
surrounded by a bounty of food and
drink. Scrooge is still shaking.
I can see by your trembling knees and moist armpits that
you’ve never seen the likes of me before!
Uh...no, I have not.
You’ve never walked with the elder members of my family?
I don’t think so, no. Have you had many brothers, spirit?
More than eighteen hundred!
A tremendous family to provide for!
Ah. Not the brightest star in the constellation, I see. I
have my work cut out for me!
Spirit...if it is your charge to continue my education...
It is! Touch my robe!
Oh...I’m not very good at this...
TOUCH MY ROBE!
Scrooge does, and the LIGHTS CHANGE as
he and Present move away. As they do, a
different part of the street scene
appears, with merchants and shoppers
and street denizens going about their
Ah! The square around the corner from my counting house! Is
this a time from my past, spirit?
The time is now, Scrooge! The day is today! Christmas Day!
Oh! Of course! Christmas Day.
Bob Cratchit, with his son TINY TIM on
his shoulders, appears in the crowd.
The boy bears a crutch.
Oh, look! It’s my clerk! Bob Cratchit!
Cratchit! Oh, Cratchit!
He can’t hear you, remember? You are a slow learner, aren’t
LIGHTS FADE on Scrooge and Present and
UP on the street scene. Bob puts Tim
down, to catch a breath. Bob begins to
sing. Eventually, Tim joins him. The
tune evolves into a little DANCE, led
by Bob. Tim participates mainly by
tapping his cane. When the song ends,
the small crowd watching applauds.
LIGHTS UP on Scrooge and Present, now
in the scene, with Scrooge applauding
as well. As Scrooge speaks, Bob lifts
Tim on his shoulders again, and walks
away. A GROUP OF CAROLERS CONVENES AND
BEGINS TO SING as the scene changes to
the CRATCHIT HOUSE.
The boy is...well again!
Yes. For now.
Spirit...what do you mean? What ailment does the boy suffer?
I demand you tell me! Why is he...?
Scrooge! Can it be...you are...concerned for the boy’s
health and welfare?
Well...no...I mean...it’s none of my business...
Spirit, please! I insist you...
The Carolers complete their song as the
Cratchit house setting is completed.
Scrooge and Present observe.
Oh, where is your father? And Tiny Tim? And your sister
Martha has never been this late for Christmas dinner. Peter,
here, set these there, and these there...Oh, my goodness,
Martha promised me she’d be here to help...
(appearing; dressed far better
than her mother)
I’m here, Mother! They kept me this morning to tidy up the
Oh, Martha, you have such beautiful clothes...
Your clothes will do, Belinda...at least until that ogre your
father works for pays him what he deserves...
Oh, Mother, I wish we could have one meal that didn’t involve
a discussion about Ebenezer Scrooge.
And I wish I could live one day that didn’t reek of the
poverty imposed on us by Ebenezer Scrooge.
You’re angry because I’m late. I’m so sorry.
Never mind, child!
I’m blessed to see you! Warm up by the fire!
Here comes Father!
Up the walkway! Look! Martha! Hide!
Martha hides in a corner as Bob enters
with Tiny Tim on his shoulders. Mrs.
Cratchit greets him.
Good heavens, Bob! Where were you? You didn’t stop in to
report to Mr. Scrooge, I hope?
Of course not, my dear. Not on Christmas Day. Tim and I
stopped to do a little caroling. Where is Martha? Shouldn’t
she be here by now?
Not...not coming? But...it’s Christmas Day, I...
(runs to his arms)
Oh, Father! It was only a joke!
(relieved; embracing her)
Ah! Upon my word!
(takes off hat)
Go ahead! Count ‘em! You’ve added at least ten gray hairs
to my head!
Can you hear? Can you hear the pudding popping in the tin?
(runs to Peter, listens)
Yes! Martha! Tim! Come! Let’s listen to the pudding
The children rush off, the others
helping Tim. Bob removes his coat and
things as Mrs. Cratchit continues to
work on the table. Scrooge and Present
continue to observe.
You went to church?
Yes. We did.
And how did he behave?
As good as gold. Sometimes...he gets thoughtful, you know?
I think it’s because he spends so much time alone. On the
way home tonight he told me that he hoped people in the
church saw him with his crutch, because it might be good for
them to remember on Christmas Day who made lame beggars walk
and blind men see.
(starts to cry)
I know, dear. I know. Come. Let’s enjoy our dinner.
(composes herself a moment,
Children! We’re ready!
The family gathers around the table,
each helping Tim into his place in some
way. There is ad-lib chatter as the
family marvels at the feast. Scrooge
watches in awe.
Spirit...how...how is it possible...
For Bob Cratchit to provide such a meal on what you pay him?
Well, I didn’t exactly mean...
Bob Cratchit is a man, Mr. Scrooge. A caring man. A caring
(silencing the chatter)
Quiet! I have something to say!
Oh! Tim has something to say!
(the family laughs, as does
Such a goose, he said! Did you hear that, Spirit? Such a
(breaking the laughter)
Now, now...my dears...please, each of you, bow your heads...
“Father in heaven, bless us this day, as you have done.
Bless us as friends to each other, as friends to our
neighbors and acquaintances, and most importantly, bless us
as a family.
(all but Bob start to chatter
and grab for food)
Uh! One more thing, please. Raise your glasses of punch!
Come now, raise them up!
To Mr. Scrooge! The founder of the feast!
The founder of the feast, indeed! I wish I had him here.
I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon!
My dear...the children! Christmas Day!
I don’t know a day when one should drink the health of such
an odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man as Mr. Scrooge!
Nobody knows this better than you, Robert!
Oh, I’ll drink his health for your sake! Not for his.
Long life to him! Such as it is!
(after a moment)
Don’t be sad, Mother. It’s Christmas!
I know, dear. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to all of you. I love
you, very, very much.
And we love you!
God bless us, every one.
The LIGHTS DIM on them as the family
members take their seats again and
begin to enjoy the dinner.
The LIGHTS FADE to feature Scrooge and
Spirit...tell me if Tiny Tim will live?
I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney corner, and a crutch
without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows
remain unaltered by the Future...
No! Oh, no!
The child will die.
No, kind Spirit, no! Please! Tell me he will be spared!
Spared? From dying? Why...I understood you approved of
dying. It...”decreases the surplus population!”
Spirit! Spirit! Please!
The spirit directs Scrooge away as the
SOUNDS of the PARTY at Fred’s house are
Spirit! What is that? Where are we going? Who is...who
They disappear as the LIGHTS COME UP
FULLY ON FRED’S HOUSE, where a small
party is in progress. There are two
couples at the party: FRED and
DOROTHY; TOPPER and GWENDOLYN. At
present, Fred is leading some children
in a singing game, which ends with all
the children gathering presents and
running off into another room.
Now, what were we discussing before the children came into
Ah! Uncle Scrooge! Well, I made every effort yesterday to
invite him to join us, but I failed miserably.
You try much too hard to accommodate him and I don’t see why.
The way he treats you.
Now, Dorothy, dear...
He is a sick old man, with sick old ideas.
My wife sees only the dark side...
Do you want to know why Scrooge is this way? Shall I tell
Oh, I wish you wouldn’t, my dear...
Oh, do tell us, Fred! Knowing old Scrooge the reason must be
a silly one! Perhaps Fred here, when he was a boy, sneaked
into Scrooge’s pantry and filched one of the old buzzard’s
month-old tea cakes to use for a doorstop!
Or better! Or better! Maybe Scrooge had an insatiable
desire to chat up little Dorothy, here..
(boisterous laugh from all)
Oh, Topper! Stop!
He’s in his cups!
And when young Fred whisked her down the aisle, old Scrooge
vowed he’d never utter a kind word in his presence again!
See what you’ve started.
Well, Fred, if you don’t want me to keep on speculating,
you’ll have to tell us!
Oh, you’d better tell him, Fred, or he’ll never leave you
Go on, dear.
Well, he...you see...he loved my mother. His sister. Fan.
Loved her dearly. And, of course, you know...you know she
died when I was born...so...
A long moment as this is absorbed.
Fred. Good Lord.
So, you see...he took it quite hard. And he never could
forgive me...for being born.
Oh, dear...Oh, dear...
And as...terrible as it is...the way he’s acted towards
me...I somehow...can’t blame him.
Well, I have no patience with him.
Oh, I have! I am sorry for him; I couldn't be angry with him
if I tried. Who suffers by his ill whims? Himself, always.
Here, he takes it into his head to dislike us, and he won't
come and dine with us. And what is the consequence, after
all, of his anger? He loses some pleasant moments, which
could do him no harm. I am sure he loses pleasanter
companions than he can find in his own thoughts, either in
his mouldy old office, or his dusty chambers. I mean to give
him the same chance every year, whether he likes it or not,
for I pity him. He may rail at Christmas till he dies, but he
can't help thinking better of it -- I defy him -- if he finds
me going there, in good temper, year after year, and saying
Uncle Scrooge, how are you? If it only puts him in the vein
to leave his poor clerk fifty pounds, that's something! And
to tell you the truth...
(begins to chuckle)
To tell you the truth...I do think I shook him up yesterday!
(all laugh lightly)
That, I would have liked to see.
Enough now! Let’s play some games!
All react enthusiastically as the LIGHT
focuses on Scrooge and Present.
Spirit! They don’t understand! He didn’t fully explain to
them how...what went through my heart the day Fan...little
But she..she had no control over....
Oh? And little Fred did have control? Is that your
argument? Are you beginning to see now, Scrooge?
See what? See what, Spirit? Are you telling me that it was
fair? Are you telling me I was treated justifiably by Fate?
It was not I who came into the world just to snatch my dear
little sister out of it!
Nor was it you who brought the fatal chill to your mother.
No, it wasn’t! My father, he...he didn’t understand, he...
To whom are you responsible, Scrooge?
What? Spirit, I don’t know how you want me to...
To whom are you responsible?
Stop confounding me, Spirit, I...
“I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney corner...”
What? What are you...?
“I SEE A VACANT SEAT IN A POOR CHIMNEY CORNER...
...and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved...”
LIGHTS re-focus on Fred’s parlor.
Explain the game again, Fred!
Oh, it’s so simple! I merely imitate something, and you ask
Yes or No questions to determine what it is!
Just go ahead, Fred! They’ll catch on!
Yes, Fred! Do go on! Topper, you are such a slow poke!
All right! Here we go!
Fred bends over and assume the visageof a grumbling, growling being of some
sort. He walks around the room angrilypushing people and things and continuesto grumble and growl.
Are you an animal?
He’s an animal.
Do you live in London?
He grunts and talks at the same time!
Could be half the people in my office!
Do you walk on two legs?
(Fred does an elaboration on
his own walk, keeps growling)
Do you live in a menagerie?
Are you ever sold at market?
Are you a horse?
NO! NO! NO!
Are you an ass?
(Fred stops, thinks aloud)
You’re getting warmer...
Growl one more time!
I’ve got it! Scrooge! You are your Uncle Scrooge!
Everybody laughs uproariously. Scrooge
sinks to the floor, next to the spirit.
Fred, still laughing, reaches for a
You see! It’s still possible Uncle can give us a laugh at
To my Uncle Scrooge! A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to
the old man, wherever he is! He wouldn’t take it from me,
but he may have it, nevertheless! To Uncle Scrooge!
To Uncle Scrooge!
The LIGHTS CROSS FADE from the party to
Scrooge and the Spirit. As they do,
the spirit finds a place to sit, and
reclines with some pain.
Spirit...are you...why, you’ve grown very old!
My life upon this Earth is very brief. It ends tonight.
At this, FOREBODING MUSIC. The LIGHTS
CHANGE to focus frighteningly on
Present. From beneath his robes, two
sets of feet emerge, hideous, almost
clawed. Scrooge is taken aback.
A blast of MUSIC. Present opens his
robes to reveal two children in dire
straits. Meager, ragged, scowling,
wolfish. And cowering in as much fear
as they inject into the atmosphere.
Spirit! Are they yours!
They are man’s! And they cling to me, hoping for
deliverance. The Boy is Ignorance. The Girl is Want.
Beware of them both, Scrooge! But most of all beware of this
The Boy emerges from beneath the robes
and slowly walks towards Scrooge, who
backs away in fear. As Present
continues to speak, the MUSIC
INCREASES, AND THE LIGHTS SWIRL.
Look at his brow, Scrooge! Can you see what is written
there? CAN YOU??? DOOM! Continue on your chosen path,
Scrooge and it is your only possible destination!
DOOM! DOOM! DOOM!
As Present bellows and the LIGHTS AND
MUSIC SWIRL, exacerbating Scrooge’s
horror, the Boy retreats to Present’s
robe. Present, still moaning “Doom!”
disappears. The horrible MUSIC BUILDS
TO A CRESCENDO, then changes abruptly
to an ominous CHORD. Scrooge is alone,
cowering in a SPOTLIGHT. He turns, and
sees ANOTHER SPIRIT appearing in the
distance. The spirit, draped in black
and hooded, moves slowly towards him.
When the spirit reaches Scrooge, he
I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?
You are about to show me the shadow of the things that have
not happened, but will happen in the time before us?
(the Spirit turns and points)
Ghost of the future, I fear you more than any spectre I have
seen. Will you not speak to me?
(the Spirit points again, more
No. You will not. The responsibility is now mine to
understand. Lead on, Spirit. Lead on.
Scrooge touches the garment of the
Spirit and they ease slowly away. In
another part of the stage, A
BUSINESSMAN and an UNDERTAKER meet at a
STREETCORNER. As they speak, Scrooge
and the Spirit insinuate themselves
Oh, I don’t know the details. I only know he’s dead.
Are they sure? With him it’d be hard to tell!
Old Scratch has got his own, at last! I thought he’d never
What has he done with his money?
All I know is he hasn’t left it to me!
(they all laugh)
What are they...? Who...?
Will there be a funeral?
Oh, there will be a funeral! A cheap one, but there will be
You don’t miss a trick, Smithers!
Will you go?
I won’t go. I can’t think of anyone who would go.
You may be right. Hmm. Embarrassin’ for me, if I can’t drum
up some mourners.
I might go...if lunch were provided.
(a good idea)
Yes. Lunch. I’ll go...provided I am fed. Whatdya say?
I’m thinking...I’m thinking...
They consider this as they leave. The
Spirit starts to move away.
Wait! Spirit! Wait...I might...Shouldn’t we linger to see
if...I appear in the Square? Perhaps I could find out
who...who is dead, Spirit, I...
(the Spirit points, sharply)
Ah. No. I see. Lead on.
The Spirit moves slowly to another part
of the stage as Scrooge follows.
LIGHTS then come up on OLD JOE’S shop,
a decrepit den filled with scraps,
rags, old bottles and old bones. OLD
JOE sits in the midst of all this
rubble, smoking a pipe.
With him are a LAUNDRESS, the
UNDERTAKER and GLADYS, Scrooge’s
chambermaid. The two women carry large
bundles, while the Undertaker bears a
tiny cloth bag. The women haggle.
Scrooge and the Spirit are to the side.
‘Ere, now, I was in the door first!
We come in together! The only reason you was first was your
belly protruded its way in front of ya!
My goods, first, Joe! You’ll find ‘em worth a pretty penny!
You know me longer, Joe! Me first! She’s just the laundry
other people’s affairs!
woman. I’m the chambermaid! I got somethin’ special, I do!
(as they continue to argue)
Gladys! My chambermaid! I had no idea she was mixed up in
(he breaks them apart)
Ladies! What’s the hurry? We’re not going to pick holes in
each other’s pockets, now, are we?
I suppose not!
And he what owns these ain’t goin’ anywhere!
(they all laugh)
Ain’t it true! Ain’t it true!
We should be ashamed of ourselves.
Ah, who’s the worse for the loss of a few things like these?
Not a dead man, I suppose!
If he wanted to keep ‘em after he was dead, the old screw,
why wasn’t he natural in his lifetime? If he had been, he’d
have had somebody to look after him when he was struck with
death, instead of lying gasping out his last there, alone by
It’s a judgement on him!
I wish it were a heavier judgement, but what I brung’ll do me
fine. Open my bundle, Joe!
No, Joe! Me first!
(the women argue again)
Oh, I’m tired of the two of you. Here, Joe.
(dumps contents of bag in front
of Joe; a few trinkets)
He had precious little hangin’ off him. But what’s there is
Precious little, is right!
Yeah. Uh huh. Uh huh.
(hands over a few coins)
There’s for yours. And you’ll not get another sixpence!
(pushes her way to front, opens
(as she puts goods in front of
Sheets. Towels. Stockin’s. Night shirt. Under garment.
Under garment. Sugar tongs.
Here now! You’re the laundress! Where do you come by sugar
tongs! Explain yourself!
He had ‘em in the pocket of this night shirt!
(throws down shirt)
No explanation required!
(handing out money)
Ah...I always give out too much to the ladies. It’s a
weakness of mine! It’ll be my ruination!
Now open my bundle, Joe!
(opens it, gazes in amazement)
What’s this now? Bed-curtains?
You don’t mean to say you took ‘em down, rings and all, with
him lyin’ there?
I do mean to say it! Why not!
You were born to make your fortune, Gladys!
That’ll teach him for addressin’ me as “woman.”
Blankets? You got his blankets?
He ain’t likely to catch cold without ‘em now, would you say?
He didn’t die of anything catching, did he?
Don’t be afraid of that! And don’t forget this!
(reaches in to get a dress
Such a fancy shirt!
It’s the best he had, and a fine one, too! They’d have
wasted it, if not for me!
They’d have buried him in it, sure!
You mean...you snatched it off him? While he was lyin’
I did! And replaced it with a calico number. He didn’t look
any uglier than he did in that one!
(hands over money to Gladys)
Well, this is the end of it! What a world! He frightened
everyone away from him when he was alive, to profit us when
he was dead!
They all laugh heartily as they gather
their spoils and booty. LIGHTS FADE on
them, UP FULLY on Scrooge and the
I understand, Spirit! My lesson is learned! Gladys...the
bed curtains, so much like mine! I understand! The man
these wretched people speak of is...like me in some way!
He...he has no dignity, even in death! His worldly
possessions have been obliterated by the greed of others!
I...I am to...better myself with this knowledge...I...I
Another BLAST OF MUSIC as the Spirit
points directly upstage. There, the
body of a man on a cold slab is rolled
ignominiously on and offstage by the
NO! What is...Spirit, it is the man! The man in death! Oh,
Spirit, please take me from this place! He is alone! He is
ignored! He is...abandoned! I understand, Spirit! I have
learned! Please! Please show me someone...anyone...who has
felt some emotion at this man’s passing! Spirit! Please!
The Spirit turns and points to another
part of the stage. The LIGHTS FADE on
the silhouette and UP on KIRK and his
wife, CAROLINE, a couple in their
Well? Is the news good or bad?
Some good. Some bad.
Tell me the bad. It can’t hurt any worse than what I know
He is dead.
Dead? Well, then....to whom shall our debt pass?
Nobody knows. But before that is determined, we shall be
ready with the money. And even if we are not, whoever our
new creditor is will be hard pressed to be as merciless as
So...the good news and the bad news...are the same.
Yes. We may sleep tonight with light hearts, Caroline. We
are free! He can torture us no longer!
As they embrace, LIGHTS CROSS to
Scrooge and the Spirit. Scrooge
Oh, but their emotion is harsh and based upon this miser’s
death! Stop teaching me, Spirit! Show me some tenderness
resulting from this evil man’s demise!
The spirit points to another part of
the stage. In a sharp light, Bob
kneels at a funeral bier which holds
the body of Tiny Tim. Bob is smothered
in grief, barely able to keep himself
upright. He tries to pray.
Dear God...please...take care of my little boy. Give him now
the happiness he brought to all of us here. We are
all...blessed by his bravery, the kindness he showed us...all
the while knowing he...he...
Yes, he knew. He certainly knew. His time here was short,
and he made the best of it. I only wish I...I wish I could
(he weeps openly)
Spirit, why is he torturing himself! Why, Bob Cratchit did
everything in his power to take care of that boy!
Oh, I wish...I wish I could have...
Everything! He did everything in his...in his...
(beat, finally understands)
Bob composes himself, and stands up.
He leans over to kiss Tiny Tim. Then
he slowly walks away.
Spirit! Please! No more! No more, Spirit!
Slowly, the Spirit leads Scrooge to
another part of the stage, a corner of
the Cratchit house, where the family is
gathered, close-knit. Peter is reading
from a book. Mrs. Cratchit and the
daughters are sewing. Scrooge and the
Spirit ease to the side.
“And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them.”
(sets down sewing; rubs eyes)
The light is so dim....Where is your father? He should be
home by this time.
Always by this time. But I think now he walks more slowly
I have known him walk with Tiny Tim upon his shoulder...very
And so have I.
So have we all.
Spirit! Could I have...? Had I been...more generous to
Cratchit...would Tiny Tim have...would he have...?
(the spirit turns away from
Bob then enters, removing his hat,
scarf and coat as he does. Belinda
runs to him.
My dear! My dears!
(they all embrace; observing
And look! Why you’ll be quite ready with the quilt for the
service on Sunday!
Yes. It is all arranged. I’ve chosen...the spot.
So you visited today, then?
Yes, my dear. I wish you could have gone. It would have
done you good to see how green a place it is....But we will
visit there often...won’t we...
(he breaks down)
There is a knock on the door. Martha
steps off to answer. Bob pulls himself
together. Martha returns with Fred,
who takes off his hat as he enters.
Fred, Bob! It’s Fred.
Of course! Why...won’t you sit down, and...
No. No. Please. I just...heard the sad news. And I wanted
to extend my deepest, deepest sympathy to you and your
Well, thank you, sir.
Yes, thank you. Sincerely.
What a fine family you have, Bob!
Thank you, sir. This is Belinda. And you’ve met Martha.
You must be Peter.
He knows my name!
Your father has spoken highly of you when I’ve visited...my
uncle. We’ve talked a number of times about...
Yes...Peter...what would you say to stopping by my store on
Monday morning! I should think an apprenticeship is due a
boy about your age, wouldn’t you say!
Oh, yes, sir! Father! I’ll be able to help!
Thank you. Thank you so very much.
Well, I’ll be going. Please. If there’s anything you need.
Feel free to call on me.
Goodbye, sir. Happy Christmas.
The rest of the family also wishes Fred
a Happy Christmas as he leaves. When
he is gone, the other children gather
happily around Peter.
A caring man...a caring man...provides...
(gathering the family around
You see? The little fellow is protecting us! He is seeing
after us! Even though he is no longer with us!
So whenever we part from one another, let’s none of us ever
forget poor Tiny Tim, shall we? How patient and how mild he
was. How he would want us to stay together in our minds and
hearts as a family, no matter how far we may stray from home.
The family acknowledges Bob’s wish, as
the LIGHTS CROSS to Scrooge and the
Spirit...something tells me that our parting moment is at
hand. Tell me...please...who was the man lying dead?
OMINOUS MUSIC creeps into the scene.
Slowly, the Spirit turns and begins to
point. As the music slowly builds, we
see what appears to be a gravestone.
After a moment, it becomes clear that
an old woman is standing alone in front
of the gravestone. This is the older
Belle. The MUSIC BUILDS as Belle
shakes her head and walks away.
Why, it’s...it’s Belle. She must know this man! She
must...Oh, Spirit, who is he! Who is this terrible man!
The Spirit points sharply to the
gravestone as the MUSIC CONTINUES TO
BUILD. Scrooge slowly moves towards the
stone. The MUSIC BUILDS LOUDER AND
LOUDER as he approaches. He reaches
the stone. He leans over and wipes
snow away from the engraving. A LIGHT
SLAMS onto the stone as the MUSIC
REACHES ITS PEAK. The stone, of
course, reads “Ebenezer Scrooge.”
Scrooge wails and falls to the ground.
NO! NO!!! It can’t be!
(turns and wails; the Spirit is
SPIRIT! SPIRIT! SPARE ME! I HAVE COME TO SEE THE HORRIBLE
ERROR OF MY WAYS! I WILL CHANGE! I PROMISE! I BLESS THIS
DAY YOU’VE COME TO ME TO SHOW ME THE WAY! I WILL HONOR
CHRISTMAS IN MY HEART, AND TRY TO KEEP IT ALL THE YEAR! I
WILL LIVE IN THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE!
THE SPIRITS OF ALL THREE SHALL STRIVE WITHIN ME! I WILL NOT
SHUT OUT THE LESSONS THEY TEACH! SPIRIT! SPIRIT! SPIRIT!
As Scrooge wails, the LIGHTS AND MUSIC
WHIRL him back to his BEDROOM, where he
finds himself sprawled on his bed. He
is repeating his entreaties to the
Spirits as he awakens.
I will live in the Past, the Present and the Future...I will
honor Christmas in my heart...I will...I will...
(notices the bed curtains)
Look! They are not torn down! They are not torn down rings
and all! They are here! I am here! The shadows of things
that would have been may be dispelled! They will be! I know
(runs around the room,
I don’t know what to do! I am as light as a feather! I am
as happy as an angel! I am as giddy as a drunken man!
A Merry Christmas to everybody! A Happy New Year to all the
world! Hello there! Whooooop! Hellooooo!
(he laughs--a huge guffaw; then
What was that?
A laugh! I laughed! Good heavens, I haven’t heard one of
those in years! I don’t know what day of the month it is! I
don’t know how long I’ve been among the spirits! I don’t
know anything. I am quite a baby! Never mind! I don’t
care! I’d rather be a baby! Hello! Whooop! Hello, there!
BELLS CHIME in the city. Scrooge runs
to his front window, opens it, and
spies a BOY running by. He stops him.
You there! Boy! What is today?
Today? Why, it’s Christmas Day!
Christmas Day! I haven’t missed it! The Spirits have done
it all in one night! Well, why not! They can do anything
they like! They’re Spirits! Boy! Boy! Do you know the
poulter’s in the next street, at the corner?
I should hope so!
An intelligent boy! A remarkable boy! Do you know whether
they’ve sold the prize turkey that was hanging up there?
The little prize Turkey or the big prize Turkey? The one as
big as me!
What a delightful boy! The one as big as you!
It’s hanging there now!
Wonderful! I want you to go and buy it.
(runs to money, giggling, gets
a pouch, tosses it to Boy)
Tell ‘em to bring it here, and I will direct them where to
take it. Come back with the butcher, and I’ll give you a
shilling. Come back with him in less than five minutes, and
I’ll give you half a crown!
The Boy whoops with joy and runs off.
Scrooge races back inside.
I will send it to Bob Cratchit! He won’t know who sent it!
What a superlative joke! What a magnificent idea! So this
is what it means! Merry Christmas! If I had known how
wonderful it felt, I’d have felt it years ago! Merry
Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Scrooge runs off as the SET CHANGES TO
THE STREET, where people gather
joyously, in SONG AND DANCE.
As the dance ends, Scrooge, now dressed
elegantly for the day, enters the
crowd. The tenor of the crowd
I’m not kidding!
The people begin to mumble to each
other in astonishment.
Fred enters. When he does, the crowd
continues to watch in awe as Scrooge
makes his transformation.
(beat, nothing from Scrooge)
(starts to walk away)
I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking...how long must I wait for that old miser to
die? How long must I wait to inherit his fortune?
Uncle, if that’s what you’re thinking, then you have no idea
what kind of man I am.
Oh, believe me, nephew. I know what kind of man you are.
Uncle, I don’t have any design on your wealth. If you really
want to know what I’m thinking, I’m thinking how wonderful it
would be if you were to find some true happiness on this day.
(beginning to giggle)
You have no design on my wealth.
Of course not, Uncle.
Good then, because it is my design to make a large donation
every year to the impoverished!
You approve, I assume?
Fred. Nephew. I was...on my way to your house. Is that
invitation to dinner still open?
Uncle...why, of course, it is! Will you come?
Fred...I am so, so sorry. Truly, I am...Will you forgive me?
Of course! Well, of course! I’ll run and tell Dorothy!
We’ll see you at the house in half an hour!
Thank you, my boy. Thank you...
(They embrace; Fred starts off)
And one more thing...
No bah? No humbug?
Merry Christmas, dear nephew.
Half an hour!
(Again, they embrace; again, he
FINK and ENTWHISTLE emerge from the
crowd and begin to sneak away. Scrooge
spots them and yells. The crowd still
stands in awe.
Oh! I told you we should have taken the other street.
Gentlemen! I would like to respond again to your plea from
We heard your response loudly and clearly, sir!
Ah, but this response is much, much quieter. Listen!
Scrooge takes out a wad of paper money,
wrests the FINK’s hand open, and begins
to pile bill after bill into it.
But, sir, I...
(finishes handing over money)
There. And a great many back payments are included.
I...I don’t know what to say.
Say nothing. Just promise to visit me when you need more.
Already? Well, whatever you say!
(hands over more money)
Thank you, sir!
Much obliged to you, sir!
They walk off happily gazing at the
money. As they do,
The crowd is now totally silent,
staring at the new Scrooge. He turns
and sees them.
Well, what are you all staring at! You know what I want you
to do, don’t you?
(they all start to run off)
SING!!! SING!!! SING!!!
The crowd disperses, singing. Scrooge
LIGHTS UP ON THE STREET SCENE, the next
morning. Fred and Dorothy appear, arm
Well, I’ll have to admit, last night’s dinner was one for the
Indeed it was!
I never thought your uncle could be so charming.
He’s been saving it up for fifty years. We were bound to
squeeze it out of him eventually.
Look! His counting house. Do you suppose he’s in?
I don’t want to find out! For now,I want to remember him as
he was last night. Let’s go before he can spoil it all!
They laugh and move away. As they
leave, Scrooge enters and paces giddily
in front of his counting house,
checking his watch fob.
Oh, he’s late! He’s late! How wonderful! He must have
reveled in his Christmas yesterday as I did! And now Bob
Cratchit is late!
He sees something in the distance, and
hides. Bob appears, taking off his
hat, coat and scarf as he tries to rush
into the counting house.
(Bob stops in his tracks)
What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?
I’m sorry, sir. I am a bit behind my time...It’s only once a
year, sir...You see, I was making rather merry yesterday,
sir, and I...
I don’t want to hear your feeble excuses! I am not going to
stand for this sort of thing any longer. And therefore...
(Bob puts on his hat)
...because of the way you have worked in this shop...
(Bob puts on his scarf)
...and because of the manner in which you treat me...
In the distance, we hear the CAROLERS
Wait! Do you hear that?
Hear what, sir?
Oh, the caroling, sir. Yes. I hear it.
(the singing gets closer)
It’s lovely, isn’t it?
Yes, sir. What, sir?
I said the singing is lovely.
Sir, are you feeling all right?
Well, then...there’s only one thing for me to do.
Scrooge steps over to the front of the
counting house, and reaches for the
Scrooge and Marley sign. He removes
the “Marley” part of the sign,
revealing the new name: “Cratchit.”
The sign now reads “Scrooge and
Mr. Scrooge...I don’t know what to say...
Say nothing. We will discuss everything this very afternoon
over a Christmas bowl of smoking Bishop! From this day
forward, Bob, your family will want for nothing. Ever again.
Mr. Scrooge, I...my little boy, he...
Yes. A hospital. What he needs...is his.
Mr. Scrooge...I wish I had something to...to give to you...
You’ve given me more than you can imagine. You’ve taught me
that a caring man provides.
I’m so happy, sir.
Merry Christmas, Bob Cratchit.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge.
They go into the counting house as the
lights slowly fade to evening. A man,
his wife and children enter. The man
begins to sing “Silent Night.” Slowly,
more and more townspeople enter,and
join in the singing. Bob’s family,
including Tiny Tim, arrives on the
scene. They join in as well.
Belle appears, and greets some of the
people as the song continues. Scrooge
finally arrives, and looks through the
crowd until he finds Belle. She is
taken aback. He takes a ring out of his
pocket, and gives it to her. For a
beat, the singing stops.
I found him, Belle. I found him.
The singing continues. Scrooge finds
Tiny Tim, and lifts him into his arms.
The carol concludes. The LIGHTS DIM.