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Down the Chimney   By:

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Down The Chimney

BY

SHEPHERD KNAPP

[Illustration]

1921

THE HEIDELBERG PRESS

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.

Down the Chimney

The First Scene

Now the curtain opens, and you see the Roof of a House, just as Mother Goose promised. Keep your eyes open to see what will happen next, for here comes JACK FROST, who is dressed all in white. He walks with a quick and nimble step, and this is what he says :

Would you believe from the look of things, that to morrow is Christmas? There is not a flake of snow anywhere. This roof is as clear as it is in summer. These pine trees, whose boughs hang over the roof, are all green. The chimney has not even an icicle on it. I hear people saying that we have no old fashioned winters any more. Even old Mother Cary said to me the other day, "Jack Frost," said she, "when are you going to give them a real snow storm?" But I told her not to be impatient: I would attend to it all in good time. And when I do begin, it doesn't take me long to get up a fine old storm, I can tell you. Now he walks up to the Chimney, and knocks on the side of it . Say, old fellow. He waits a moment; then knocks again . Wake up there. He waits a moment; then knocks again . Wake up, I say.

And now would you believe it? the Chimney opens, first, one of his eyes, then the other; and then his mouth and nose appear together. Each of his eyes is exactly the shape and size of one brick. So is his nose. And his mouth is as long as two bricks side by side. They all turn a very bright red, when they appear, as though light were shining through them.

JACK FROST goes on talking : What do you mean, Mr. Chimney, by going to sleep in winter, I'd like to know? Summer is the time for you chimneys to go to sleep; but in winter when the people in the houses have their fires burning, you ought to keep wide awake, so as to carry off the smoke; don't you know that? Sleepy head! You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

THE CHIMNEY answers : Nothing of the sort. Have you forgotten what night this is, Jack Frost? Don't you know that this is Christmas Eve, when the fires are all put out, so that Santa Claus can climb down without getting burned? That's why I was taking a little nap. See? He winks with one eye.

JACK FROST says : Oh, that's it, is it? Well, that's true enough... Continue reading book >>




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