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The Christmas Dinner   By:

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First Page:

THE CHRISTMAS DINNER

by

SHEPHERD KNAPP

The Heidelberg Press Publishers for Discriminators Fifteenth and Race Streets, Philadelphia

1921

TO THOSE WHO FIRST ACTED IN THIS PLAY TO THOSE WHO WITH SO MUCH SKILL AND PATIENCE TRAINED THE PARTICIPANTS AND TO THE FRIENDLY AUDIENCES OF BOYS AND GIRLS WHO ENCOURAGE US BY THEIR APPLAUSE IT IS DEDICATED

Preface

This play is intended, not only for acting, but also for reading. It is so arranged that boys and girls can read it to themselves, just as they would read any other story. Even the stage directions and the descriptions of scenery are presented as a part of the narrative. At the same time, by the use of different styles of type, the speeches of the characters are clearly distinguished from the rest of the text, an arrangement which will be found convenient when parts are being memorized for acting.

The play has been acted more than once, and by different groups of people; sometimes on a stage equipped with footlights, curtain, and scenery; sometimes with barely any of these aids. Practical suggestions as to costumes, scenery, and some simple scenic effects will be found at the end of the play.

What sort of a Christmas play do the boys and girls like, and in what sort do we like to see them take part? It should be a play, surely, in which the dialogue is simple and natural, not stilted and artificial; one that seems like a bit of real life, and yet has plenty of fancy and imagination in it; one that suggests and helps to perpetuate some of the happy and wholesome customs of Christmas; above all, one that is pervaded by the Christmas spirit. I hope that this play does not entirely fail to meet these requirements.

Worcester, Mass.

SHEPHERD KNAPP.

Introduction

Before the Play begins, MOTHER GOOSE comes out in front of the curtain, and this is what she says:

Well, well, well, well, well, here we all are again. And what's more important, Christmas is here again, too. Aren't you glad? Now I want to tell you children something. Do you know what I enjoy most at Christmas time? It's to come in here and see all you children sitting in rows and rows, all your faces looking up at me, and a smile on every one of them. Why, even some of those great big men and women back there are smiling, too. And I think I know why you are all smiling. There are two reasons for it, I believe. One is that you think old Mother Goose is a good friend of yours, and loves you all very much. And you're quite right about that, for I declare, I love every one of you as much as I love plum pudding. And the second reason why you are all smiling, I guess, is because you think I am going to show you a Christmas Play. And you're right about that, too. I have a play all ready for you, there behind the curtain, and the name of it is "The Christmas Dinner." Doesn't the very name of it make you hungry? Well, you just wait. Now when the curtain opens, you'll see the warm cozy kitchen of a farm house, where six people live. Two of them are quite young, because they are just a boy and a girl, and their names are Walter and Gertrude. And two of them are older, and yet not so very old either: they are the father and mother of the two children. And the last two are the oldest of all, and they are really old, for they are the children's grandfather and grandmother. It is late in the afternoon of the day before Christmas, the hour when it has begun to get dark. The father is out cutting some good big sticks of wood for the Christmas fire, and the two children are playing outside of the house. So you'll not see them at first. But you will see the mother, who is just finishing the day's work, and the old grandfather and grandmother, who are sitting by the fire. Are you ready, all of you? Be quiet, then, for now it is going to begin... Continue reading book >>




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