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A CHARLES

DICKENS
CHRISTMAS
Book by ROBERT OWENS SCOTT
Lyrics by TOM TOCE
Music by DOUGLAS J. COHEN
Conceived and Originally Directed by BRUCE COLVILLE
Commissioned and Originally Produced by THEATREWORKS/USA

As of Nov 14, 2015

Copyright 1988 by Robert Owens Scott, Tom Toce and Douglas J. Cohen.

CAST
Actor 1 Charles Dickens
(Leading Man, young thirties) A driven
and successful writer, but an unhappy man.
Actor 2. John Dickens
(Character Man) Also Peddler,
Mr. Trotwood, and orphan, Citizen of
London, a Present, Man at Party.
Actor 3.Tim Trotwood
(Juvenile) Also young Charles Dicken,
Littlest Orphan, Signboard Boy, Citizen
of London, Barbers Assistant, Waiter.
Actor 4.Chapman
(Character Man) Also Hargreaves, Prison
Guard, Peddler, Citizen of London, Man
at Party, Tailor, Barber, Maitre d, A
Present.
Actress 1...Orphan Lady
(Ingenue/Young Leading Woman) Also
Rachael, Young Woman (Charles muse),
Flower Girl, Peddler, Citizen of London,
waitress.
Actress 2Mrs. Furnival
(Character Woman) Also Mrs. Trotwood,
Mrs. Dickens, Citizen of London,
Peddler, Woman at Party, A Present.

The Play may be performed with as few as six or as many as eleven actors.

A CHARLES DICKENS CHRISTMAS


CHRISTMAS IN LONDON
Citizens of London
(variously)
(singing)
CHRISTMAS IS FOR GIVING
GIVING, GIVING.
CHRISTMAS IS FOR GETTING
GETTING, GETTING.
CHRISTMAS IS FOR DOING UNTO OTHERS
AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.
AND CHRISTMAS IS FOR SAYING THANK YOU
WHEN THEY DO.
CHRISTMAS IS FOR GIVING
GIVING, GIVING,
FORGIVING.
FORGIVING.
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON!
BELLS CLANGING
DING DONG, DING, DONG.
DING, DONG, DING, DONG
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON!
DOOR BANGING
ALL DAY LONG!
STREETS TEEMING,
SHOPS BURSTING,
EVERYWHERE ONE GOES.
AND AS IF OUR HEARTS HAD WILLED IT,
IT SNOWS!
AND SNOWS,
AND SNOWS,
AND SNOWS!
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON!
CHOIRS SINGING
AVE, AVE.
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON!
CHOIRS BRINGING
CHEER THIS DAY.
SUCH THUNDER,
SMALL WONDER
LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN.
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON.
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON TOWN.
(The citizens of London exit to reveal
Charles Dickens sitting room at Furnivals Inn.)

(Charles Dickens, 31 sits at his


writing desk, scribbling furiously.
His jacket is off, sleeves rolled
up, hair disheveled. After a
moment, his landlady, Mrs. Furnival
enters.)
Mrs. Furnival
(offstage) Mr. Dickens! Mr. Dickens! (enters) Goodness, Mr. Dickens! Still
Writing? (he is too engrossed in his work to hear her) Mr. Dickens? (still
no response; she shakes her head resignedly, having seen this before and often)
Charles
(with a flourish of his pen) Ha! Finished! (bellows) Mrs. Furnival! I need you!
Mrs. Furnival
Here, sir.
Charles
Perfect. Ive just completed the next chapter of my latest novel.
Mrs. Furnival
Oliver Twist! (picks it up and starts reading it)
Charles
Kindly take these manuscripts to my book publisher, Mr. Chapman.
Mrs. Furnival
Oh, Im breathless to find out what happens this month.
Charles
Mrs. Furnival, please!
Mrs. Furnival
You look awful, Mr. Dickens. Its been days since youve had a rest. Why dont you let me make
you a fresh cup of hot tea?
Charles
That would be wonderful, dear lady, but we havent time. These manuscripts have got to be on
their way. Theyre already late.
Mrs. Furnival
What am I going to do with you? You sit in this room for days on end until your face is pale from
lack of sun and your fingers are black with ink. Go out. Take a walk if nothing else.

DICKENS PAGE 2

Charles
Thats quite impossible. Why, this evening I must write (looks at his list) Let me see Theres
nothing on this list, but I know theres something.
Mrs. Furnival
Whatever it is can wait. No more arguments, now. You are taking a nice walk. Youve a treat in
store. While youve been in here toiling away, the shopkeepers have set out all their decorations for
the joyous season.
Charles
Joyous what?
Mrs. Furnival
Why, Christmas, Mr. Dickens.
Charles
Oh, no. Has that silly holiday crept round again?
Mrs. Furnival
Silly? Ill wager that when you were a child you could hardly wait for Christmas day.
Charles
You would lost that bet, dear lady. Christmas has never meant a thing to me.
Mrs. Furnival
Mr. Dickens! What have you got against Christmas?
Charles
Frankly, Mrs. Furnival..
(sings:)
I HAVE NO TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
I HAVE NO TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
Mrs. Furnival
MR. DICKENS!
Charles
MRS. FURNIVAL, ITS TRUE
A CHARMING NOTION, ACTUALLY
FOR SOME.
FOR THEM.
FOR YOU.
I HAVE NO TIME FOR CROWDED SHOPS,
NO TIME FOR SILENT NIGHT.
I HAVE SCARCELY TIME TO WRITE
ONE HALF OF WHAT I HAVE TO WRITE.
I HAVE NO TIME FOR CHRISTMAS.
DICKENS PAGE 3

Mrs. Furnival
MR. DICKENS!
Charles
MRS. FURNIVAL, QUITE SO.
Mrs. Furnival
BUT, DONT YOU LOVE THE SPIRIT, SIR
THE BELLS,
THE GIFTS,
THE SNOW?
Charles
IF SPIRIT, MADAM, FED THE STARVING HORDES, OR
ENDED WAR,
MADE MY BED
OR PAID MY DEBTS,
I MIGHT AGREE.
Mrs. Furnival
BUT SPIRIT DOES WHAT SPIRIT CAN, MR. DICKENS.
Charles
A SPIRIT IS A BOGEYMAN.
Mrs. Furnival
MR. DICKENS!
Charles
I HAVE NO TIME FOR THINGS THAT HAVE NO MENAING
FOR ME.
I HAVE NO TIME TO PRETEND MY PROBLEMS
SIMPLY DONT EXIST.
Mrs. Furnival
I NEVER KNEW, SIR, THAT YOU, SIR, HAD PROBLEMS.
Charles
OF COURSE OH NO, WHY SHOULD I HAVE PROBLEMS?
MADAM, HERES A LIST:
MY PARENTS AND THEIR COUNTRY HOME
THAT COSTS A PRETTY POUND.
MY FATHER LEAVES A TRAIL OF BILLS
WHENEVER HES AROUND.
AND THEN THE GROCER
DICKENS PAGE 4

Charles (Cont.)
AND THEN THE RENT
AND THEN THE TAXES
FOR PARLIAMENT.
AND SO I MAKE THESE PROMISES
I KNOW I CANNOT KEEP.
A STORY HERE, A NOVEL THERE.
AND SLEEP? HA!
WHATS SLEEP?
I HAVE NO TIME FOR CHRISTMAS.
Mrs. Furnival
MR. DICKENS.
Charles
MRS. FURNIVAL, WHATS MORE,
UNLESS IVE SENT THIS MANUSCRIPT BY THREE
AND THESE BY FOUR
THEN DEBTORS PRISONS LIKELY WHERE ILL BE
ON CHRISTMAS DAY!
IT IS URGENT THEY GO OUT WITHOUT DELAY.
Mrs. Furnival
I PROMISE I SHALL SEND THEM RIGHT OFF,
MR. DICKENS.
IF YOULL AGREE TO TAKE THE NIGHT OFF,
MR. DICKENS!
Charles
I HAVE NO TIME FOR NONSENSE
Mrs. Furnival
NOR DO I, SIR.
GOOD-BYE SIR.
BE ON YOUR WAY!
(They both exit Furnivals inn and head in different
directions. Set pieces move, spin, etc. to change
the scene to a snowy London street.)
PEDDLERS ON PARADE
Two Peddlers
STREETS TEEMING,
SHOPS BURSTING,
EVERYWHERE ONE GOES.
DICKENS PAGE 5

Peddlers (Cont.)
THEN AS IF OUR HEARDS HAD WILLED IT
IT SNOWS.
(Charles enters, strolling.)
(The two peddlers stare at Charles.)
Apple Peddler
Look, my dear. That man!
Meat Pie Peddler
What? A thief?
Apples
No, my pet. Its that author, Charles Dickens.
Meat Pies
(stares) Nah. That Dickens bloke looks a lot more literary.
Apples
Oh, yes. Youre right.
Male Peddler
DELICIOUS CHESTNUTS PENNY A BAG
Apples
APPLES RIPE AND LUSCIOUS
Female Peddler
MATCHES FOR SALE!
KEEP YOUR FIRE LIT;
IT HELPS YOU STAY SO COZY.
Meat Pies
MEAT PIES!
YOULL LOVE IT!
MEAT PIES!
COME GET YOUR
(The peddlers cries repeat and mingle together.
The cry of the boy with a signboard finally emerges clearly.)
Boy With Signboard
BUY THE NEW CHRISTMAS STORY FROM CHARLES DICKENS.
BUY THE NEW CHRISTMAS STORY FROM CHARLES DICKENS.
(spoken) A Christmas story form Charles Dickens. (His signboard reads: A CHRISMAS
STORY BY CHARLES DICKENS)
DICKENS PAGE 6

Charles
(stops dead in his tracks, eyes wide) The Christmas story! I knew there was something!
Signboard boy
At the booksellers this Friday. A Christmas story by Charles Dickens. (He exits, calling)
(A well-dressed man enters. He
walks with a determined stride.)
Chapman
Dickens! Charles Dickens!
Charles
Blast! My publisher. That man has the devils own timing.
Chapman
Dont take another step!
Charles
Mr. Chapman. How fortunate to encounter the very man I was on my way to see.
Chapman
As well you should be. Have you the faintest idea how long overdue you are on
Charles
Yes. Oliver Twist. This last chapter required several revisions which I fear did delay its
completion, but Im happy to say its on its way to your office at this very moment. So Ill bid you
good day, Mr. Chapman. (He hastily attempts to exit)
Chapman
(stopping Charles) On the contrary, Charles, its a dark day indeed. Have you forgotten your
obligation to write a Christmas story?
Charles
Forgotten my Christmas story? You may as well ask if Ive forgotten Christmas!

DICKENS PAGE 7

Chapman
Very well. Where is it?
Charles
Its er very much in need of recopying. I was just on my way home to do it.
Chapman
I could have sworn you said you were on your way to see me.
Charles
To, er tell you that Im on my way home to recopy the Christmas story.
Chapman
You are lying to me, arent you?
Charles
I, ahwell
Chapman
Mark me, Charles Dickens and mark me well. The Christmas season is already upon us and if
we are to profit from it we must move quickly. If I dont set my printing presses rolling
immediately, I shall be humiliated. Now I want that story.
Charles
Yes, Mr. Chapman.
Chapman
And I expect it to be brilliant!
Charles
(squirming) Of course, Mr. Chapman.
Chapman
And Im certain it will be a jolly, happy story that people will love.
Charles
Naturally, sir.
Chapman
And another thing
DICKENS PAGE 8

Charles
Yes, Mr. Chapman. (looks over Chapmans shoulder) Oh, Mrs. Chapman! Merry Christmas!
Chapman
What? Dorothea? (looks around) What are you
(As Mr. Chapman turns to look, Charles darts behind
a group of young children who have assembled to sing
Christmas carols under the leadership of a very
beautiful young woman.)
Chapman
(turns back) My wife isnt Dickens! Where are you? I want that manuscript.
Young Woman
(Conducting the children) Ready, children?
ALL
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON,
BELLS CLANGING
An Orphan
DING DONG.
Another Orphan
DING DONG.
A Third Orphan
DING DONG.
Charles
DING DONG.
(Chapman turns to look. Seeing
nothing, he exits.)
Chapman
Blast!
(The singing stops. The orphans and their
mistress turn to look at Charles.)
Young Woman
Why, Mr. Dickens. Arent you Charles Dickens, the writer?
Charles
I am. Do I know you?
DICKENS PAGE 9

Young Woman
Oh, no, sir. But I read your stories to the children almost every night. Children. This is Mr.
Dickens. Say hello.
Several Children
Hello, Mr. Dickens.
The Smallest Boy
lo, Mr. Dickers.
Charles
Yes, well, youve a lovely family. Good evening. (starts off)
Young Woman
Oh, sir. They arent mine. At least, theyre only mine to care for. Theyre orphans, you see. Mr.
Dickens, may I ask you something?
Charles
(notices that the smallest orphan is holding a hat) Ah, yes. (takes out a pocket full of change, drops
one coin in the hat, repockets the rest) There you go.
Young Woman
Thank you, Mr. Dickens. Children, say thank you.
Children
Thank you, Mr. Dickens.
Smallest Boy
God bless you, Mr. Dickers.
Young Woman
Thats very kind, but I was going to invite you to visit the Orphan House. Its right on the corner
over there. I was hoping that if you saw the terrible want these children suffer, you could write
about it.
Charles
Well, Im really very
Young Woman
I think that people would want to help, if they knew especially at Christmas.
Charles
(that word again) Christmas!
Young Woman
Yes, Christmas.
DICKENS PAGE 10

Charles
Because its Christmas you thought I could let my publishers stew while I ignore the work that puts
clothes on my back and food on my table.

Young Woman
I only thought
Charles
Because its Christmas you thought I could just sit down and write about your bedraggled little
ragamuffins.
Young Woman
Never mind, Mr. Dickens. I see I shouldnt have asked.
Charles
My work requires attention every day of the year, Christmas or not.
Young Woman
Of course, Mr. Dickens. So do they. Good evening. (She and the orphans exit.)
Charles
(calling after them) Wait, Miss, I (to himself sarcastically) Congratulations, Charles. Id
better get home and write a jolly Christmas story.
(Charles exits. John Dickens enters and
crosses to a tailor, who measures
him for a coat.)
MY SON CHARLES
John
MY SON CHARLES
IS A GENIUS, THEY SAY.
MY SON CHARLES,
THE FAMOUS AUTHOR.
I HAVE COME INTO TOWN TO SEE THE LAD,
AND IT JUST WASNT PROPER TO DRESS
IN THE RAGS I HAD.
Tailor
Silk, sir?
John
Of course.
DICKENS PAGE 11

Tailor
Silver buttons?
John
Gold.
Tailor
Very good, sir. (hands him the bill) Sir? (tires again) Sir?
John
MY GOOD MAN,
THOUGH MY ELEGANT TASTE EXCEEDS
MY ABILITY TO PAY YOUR BILL,
MY SON CHARLES, MY SON CHARLES, MY SON CHARLES,
WILL.
(During a musical crossover, the tailor scurries
pall mall through the streets, colliding with a
hapless citizen of London, sending her packages
flying. He locates Charles and delivers the bill
to him. Meanwhile, in another part of London,
John enters a barber shop.)
John
MY SON CHARLES
HAS HIS FATHERS GREAT FLAIR.
MY SON CHARLES
THE NAME IS DICKENS.
WHEN WE GO OUT TO DINE THE FINE FOLKS WAVE,
SO THE LEAST I CAN DO FOR THE BOY
IS TO TAKE A SHAVE.
And do be sure to use none but your most expensive colognes.
Barber
Yes, Mr. Dickens. (hands him the bill) Mr. Dickens? (tries again) Mr. Dickens?
John
MY DEAR GENTS,
I WOULD PAY EVEN TWICE THE PRICE
TO BE CLIPPED AND GROOMED WITH SUCH GREAT SKILL
BUT ALAS,
I CANNOT,
MY SON CHARLES
WILL.
DICKENS PAGE 12

(As the barber repeats the tailors action,


John sits down in a caf.)
John
MY SON CHARLES
OWES HIS TALENT TO ME.
MY SON CHARLES
A BIT MORE PHEASANT.
Chorus
WHEN YOU FIND YOU ARE SHORT A HUNDRED POUNDS,
YOU DEPEND ON HIS GRATITUDE.
John
YES!
WHICH KNOWS NO BOUNDS.
Tonight, everyones dinner is on me, John Dickens!
MY GOOD MAN,
LETS POUR EVERYONE MORE CHAMPAGNE,
BUT I WILL NOT PAY FOR WHAT YOU SPILL.
Chorus
YOUR SON CHARLES,
John
GOOD OLD CHARLES,
Chorus
YOUR SON CHARLES,
(The waiter runs as before and
delivers the bill to Charles.)
Charles
Father!
John
WILL.
(Set pieces move, turn, etc. to reform
Furnivals Inn. Charles enters.
Mrs. Furnival is dusting.)
Mrs. Furnival
Back already? Come join Mr. Furnival and me for a spot of eggnog.
DICKENS PAGE 13

Charles
Impossible, Dear Lady. I must spend this night writing a story on the most absurd of subjects
Christmas.
Mrs. Furnival
A Christmas story! How wonderful.
Charles
Mrs. Furnival, please. Would you see that I am not disturbed?
Mrs. Furnival
Yes, of course. No one shall be admitted tonight. Oh! There is one thing, Mr. Dickens. Your
father
Charles
(with a groan, reaching into his pocket) Oh, no. How much?
Mrs. Furnival
Nothing, sir, I assure you. I meant to say, your father is waiting to see you in your room.
Charles
He is, eh? Hes one person with whom I would like a few words.
(Charles enters to see his father
Snoozing at Charles writing desk.)
Charles
(in Johns ear; imitating a waiter) Is everything to your liking, Mr. Dickens?
John
(still asleep) Find, fine. Another pheasant, Innkeeper.
Charles
But that will bring your bill to a million pounds, sir!
John
Piffle.
Charles
But who will pay it, Mr. Dickens? Who?
John
My son will happily (drifting awake) My son is non other than My son is (awake)
Charles! I was just dreaming about you.
Charles
You mustve been dreaming when you thought I would pay all these bills of yours.
DICKENS PAGE 14

John
Tut, dear boy. I ran a bit short. Thats all. Have no fear, Ill make it up to you.
Charles
Please dont. Youll only borrow the money to repay me and Ill be stuck settling that debt as well.
What am I to do with you?
John
Well, you might start by wishing me a Merry Christmas. I came all this way just to celebrate the
season with you.
Charles
(pointed) I shant be celebrating tonight. I shall be working, as always.
John
Remember, Charles: in a mans life work and pleasure must be balanced.
Charles
Oh, but they are. I do all the work; you take all the pleasure.
John
Charles!
Charles
Im sorry, but your extravagance keeps me one step ahead of poverty. Ever since I was a child
youve depended on me to do the work, and Im tired, Father, sick and tired.
John
You talk as if Ive never given you anything.
Charles
I cant think of a thing! Every Christmas when the other children got presents, I go nothing. Now
you want to celebrate. Well, Im sorry, Father, but Ive no time for you.
John
What a way to speak to your father! (beat) Youve become a hard man, Charles. (beat)
Goodnight. (exits)
Charles
Father, wait. Oh, good grief. (calling) Mrs. Furnival.
Mrs. Furnival
(at door)

Yes, Mr. Dickens?

DICKENS PAGE 15

Charles
Dear Lady, please bring my father back and give him a room for the night. Tell him I shall pay for
it.
Mrs. Furnival
But, Mr. Dickens he already told me that himself. Said you insisted he have the best room in the
house.
Charles
Oh he did, did he? Then you can tell him You can tell him
Mrs. Furnival
Yes?
Charles
Tell him to have a good night.
Mrs. Furnival
Dont you worry. Ill see to him.
Charles
Oh, what a night! (taking off his jacket, preparing to write) And its barely begun. (Charles
takes Johns bills and sticks them on a spindle, where they join many others) (muttering)
Christmas story. Jolly Christmas story. (he picks up his pen) Nothing. Minds a blank.
(deliberately sounding out an idea:) Ill set the story in December (mocking himself) Oh,
brilliant, Charles. No wonder they call you the modern Shakespeare. (gets up and begins pacing,
frustration mounting) This is ridiculous. Im the most prolific writer Ive ever heard of. Why cant
I think of a simple little Christmas story? Now, calm down.
WRITING SEQUENCE I (BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS)
BEGIN
AT THE BEGINNING.
SEE IT THROUGH
UNTIL THE END.
CLEAR YOUR MIND
OFF ALL DISTRACTION.
LET THE ACTION
BEGIN
(As Charles creates his story, the characters
appear at various points on the stage.)
INVENT A BOY
AND CALL HIM JOE -- NO -- JACK -- TOM --TIM.
AND MAKE THE BOY
WORK THIRTEEN HOURS A DAY
DICKENS PAGE 16

Charles (cond)
FOR DISMAL PAY.
OH, CHARLES, HOW GRIM.
(spoken) Let it be Christmas Day -- no -- Christmas Eve, and our young Tim has just left the
factory, where his employer has distributed his annual Christmas bonus.
(Charles tosses the boy a coin.)
Tim
ONE BRIGHT PENNY, OH, THE GIFTS ILL BUY.
ONE BRIGHT PENNY, SHALL I RUN OR FLY?

(Tim runs through the streets. He comes


upon a cluster of shop windows. As he
moves from window to window, the items
in them come magically to life. As Tim holds
up his penny, each present spurns him in
succession. It becomes all too apparent that
he cannot afford any of them. Dejectedly,
he turns to a shopkeeper.)
Tim
PARDON ME, SIR, ITS CHRISTMAS EVE.
AND I HAVE NO GIFT TO BRING MY MOM AND DAD.
Charles
(relishing his creation) THATS SAD, CHARLES, IRRESISTIBLY SAD.
Tim
AND I WONDERED, SIR,
ABOUT YOUR WINDOW, SIR,
THAT IS
HOW MUCH? HOW MUCH? I SEE.
HOW MUCH? HOW MUCH? HOW MUCH? AH, ME.
(A beautiful young woman enters carrying
a basket of flowers. The flowers vanish.)
Flower Girl
BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS
BRIGHTEN UP YOUR DAY.
BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS!
BUY A FINE BOUQUET.
DICKENS PAGE 17

Flower Girl (cond)


WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN YELLOWS AND REDS
AND GREENS WITH SKIES ARE GREY?
BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS!
AWFUL CHEERY
ON THIS DREARY DAY.
YES?
WELL?
Tim
LISTEN, DEAR MISS, ITS CHRISTMAS EVE,
AND I HAVE NO GIFT TO BRING MY MUM AND DAD.
Girl
HOW SAD -Tim
TIM.
Flower Girl
TIM. HOW UNSPEAKABLY SAD.
THEN TAKE THEM.
Tim
TAKE WHAT?
Flower Girl
TAKE THEM.
Tim
TAKE THEM?
Flower Girl
PLEASE!
Tim
(spoken) But I cant afford
Flower Girl
(spoken) Yes, you can. A gift is free.
(She gives him the flowers.)

DICKENS PAGE 18

Tim
BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS!
HOW CAN I REPAY?
BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS!
HERES A KISS, MISS,
(As Tim turns to thank the Flower
Girl, she has vanished.)
Tim
MERRY CHRISTMAS
DAY!
(Tim runs through the street with his treasure.
He arrives at a large door. He knocks.)
Guard
(through the door) Who has business at the Debtors Prison?

Tim
Its me, sir. Tim Trotwood. Ive come to see my parents.
Guard
Theres no visitor this late.
Tim
Oh, please. Its Christmas Eve, and Ive brought them a present.
Guard
Rules is rules.
(Tim stands for a moment, not
knowing what to do. He starts to
sniffle. The door swings open.)
Guard
And Christmas is Christmas I suppose. Dont be long about it.
(Tim and the Guard exchange smiles.
Tim enters, and the scene shifts to his
parents cell. In it sit Tims father and mother.)
Mr. Trotwood
(rising; he speaks as if he were a country squire welcoming a guest)
Why, Tim. I hope this evening finds you well.
DICKENS PAGE 19

Tim
Yes, sir.
Father
What a shame youve missed dinner.
Tim
Im not hungry, thank you.
Mr. Trotwood
(hungrily eyeing Tims basket)
Perhaps youve brought your own supper, eh?
Mrs. Trotwood
Augustus! (Mr. Trotwood sits, cowed) Evening Tim. Come give your mother a kiss. (he does)
Whatve you got there?
Tim
(Barely able to contain his joy) This has been an awfully hard year for us (his mother starts to
react) and we all know that its been due to bad fortune and is nobodys fault. I want this
Christmas to remind us all of the hope of spring and happy days ahead. Thats why Ive brought
you this present. (takes the covering off the flowers, holds them up proudly; a moment of silence)
Mrs. Trotwood
What is this?
Tim
Theyre flowers.
Mrs. Trotwood
I know flowers when I see them. Dont insult your mother by telling her what flowers are. What
are they doing here?
Tim
Whytheyreyour Christmas present.
Mrs. Trotwood
You spent your money on these? Do you realize that whatever fancy price you paid could have
gone to help erase our debts?
Tim
II didnt pay for them. They were a gift. A gift is free.
Mrs. Trotwood
Then why didnt you sell these things to raise some money?
DICKENS PAGE 20

Mr. Trotwood
Tut, Florence. The boy meant well.
(Tims face brightens.)
Mrs. Trotwood
Augustus!
Mr. Trotwood
Er, as I was saying, he meant well, but he was thoughtless. And you are quite right to scold him.
Perhaps he could still go out and sell them.
Mrs. Trotwood
No, its too late. He must go to bed so hell be ready for work in the morning.
Tim
Itits Christmas tomorrow. The factorys shut down for the day.
Mrs. Trotwood
Really? Well, I hope youll work all the harder the next day. You know, Tim, we would like to be
able to leave this place. And we are depending on you.
Tim
Yes, Mam. Good night.
Mrs. Trotwood
Good night, Tim.
Mr. Trotwood
Gnight, lad.
Tim
(starts to go, turns back) Merry Christmas.
Mrs. Trotwood
What?
Tim
I said nothing.

(he goes)
(Tim exits the cell and starts running, out
of the prison and through the streets. He
throws the basket of flowers away and
collapses at the end of a dark street.)
DICKENS PAGE 21

Tim
Dear God, I know its Christmas Even, and you must be very busy, but wont you please listen for
a moment? I want to help my parents, but everything I do just makes thinks worse. Please, God,
dont make me spend the rest of my life in the blacking factory. If I can go to school, Ill do
something wonderful with my life. I promise I will. Please, God, please
Tim, joined by Charles
BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS
SOON WILL WILT AND DIE.
Charles
BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS
Both
SO I FEAR SHALL I.
Charles
No. No! NO! (crumples the paper hes been writing on) Thats no story. Thats what happened
to me! Gad, some happy Christmas story that would make. (to Tim, whos still on stage) Poor
lad. Just because I never had a happy Christmas is no reason you shouldnt. As your creator, I
should do better by you. (an idea dawns) I know! (Charles changes Tims costume) Ill make
you a little older, and Ill invest a wonderful, happy place for you to be. Ill give you a joyful
Christmas, yet.
WRITING SEQUENCE II (FLATTERED)
Charles
RETURN
TO YOUR BEGINNING.
THINK IT THROUGH;
MAINTAIN CONTROL.
FREE YOUR MIND
OFF ALL FRUSTRATION.
LET IMAGINATION
RETURN
INVEST A GAME.
SOME SORT OF SPORT -- NO. PAGEANT? CONTEST? AH, A DANCE!
YES!
(Couples enter in masks and gowns
for a party.)

DICKENS PAGE 22

Charles
BE SURE THE GAME INVOLVES A
BIG TO-DO
AND TENSION, TOO,
AND BETTER STILL -Romance! (spoken)
(The couples waltz. After a moment, one
couple dances downstage, away from the others.)
Young Woman
Tim. The others.
Tim
What do we care for them? I live only for you, Rachael. Did you read the poem I sent you?
Rachael
Of course. It wassweet. And I was very flattered.

Tim
FLATTERED!
SHE SAYS SHES FLATTERED!
Rachael
Tim.
Tim
AS IF FLATTERY MATTERED.
AS IF MY PASSIONS WERE THOSE OF SOME MERE BOY.
Rachael
Please, this is not the time.
Tim
FLATTERED!
SHE SAYS SHES FLATTERED!
Rachael
Tim.
Tim
MY WORLD, RACHAEL, IS SHATTERED.
THE HOURS THOUGHTER I THOUGH WERE HOURS OF JOY!
DICKENS PAGE 23

Rachael
The time we spent was very precious to me.
Tim
THEN WHY, OH WHY ARE YOU ACTING SO ABSURD?
IF I TRULY HAVE YOUR LOVE -Rachael
YOU MUST NEVER SAY THAT WORD!
Tim
I SHALL! I MUST!
OR ELSE DISGUST
WILL OVERTAKE MY SPIRIT.
I WANT THE WORLD TO HEAR IT!
LOVE!
Rachael
HUSH!
Tim
LOVE!
Rachael
PLEASE.
Tim
LOVE!
Rachael
STOP IT!
Tim
RACHAEL, SAY YOU LOVE ME,
OR ELSE I SHALL GO MAD.
Rachael
I am fond of you.
Tim
What?
Rachael
I am very fond of you.

DICKENS PAGE 24

Tim
FOND!
SHE SAYS SHES FOND!
ONE IS FOND OF A KITTEN
OR FOND OF A HAT
OR FOND OF POTATOES
OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
BUT DO NOT SAY YOURE FOND, MY DEAR, OF ME!
Rachael
I CANNOT SPEAK OF LOVE FOR YOU, YOU SEE
Tim
I dont see
Rachael
I cannot because
Tim
Because?
Rachael
Because

Tim
Because?
(The others, who danced off
during this scene, come back.)
Man
There you are! Its time for the Christmas jig!
Rachael
Oh, yes, Tim. Lets do the Christmas jig!
Woman
Lets do the Partner Dance.
Man
Oh, yes, a capital idea. (others, except Tim, voice agreement) Now, remember, dont get caught
without a partner when the music stops.

DICKENS PAGE 25

THE PARTNER DANCE


(The dance begins. Tim keeps trying
to partner with Rachael, who, in the
course of the dance, keeps evading him.
The music stops with Tim partnerless.)
Man
Ah, Tim, you lose! Twice more and youre out! (everybody laughs, goodnaturedly, not realizing
Tim is getting upset)
(The dance continues, as before. Again,
when the music stops, Tim is odd man out.)
Woman
(laughing and teasing) Oh, oh. Tims in trouble now!
(One more round. Again, Tim loses. The
party erupts into loud, mocking laughter.)
Charles
(at his desk) NO! (the stage freezes; Charles scratches out what hes written and writes:) Youre
a good sport
Man
(finishing Charles line) Tim. Whos for Christmas punch!
(They head for the other room,
Rachael included. Tim stops her.)
Tim
Rachael?
Rachael
Please. Let us speak no more of this.
Tim
I have my answer. You cannot love me because your father will not let you. He believes that I will
never make anything of myself -- that I have no prospects.
Rachael
I am mistress of my own heart. I cannot love you because -- (she hesitates, then blurts out:)
because you are just a boy! (Tim stares at her, aghast. Having said so much, she cant help but
add:) And you do not have any prospects!

DICKENS PAGE 26

Charles
(his voice coming out of the darkness) No. No! NO! (lights up on Charles at his writing desk, out
on Rachael and Tim) What is what Maria said to me. I refuse to immortalize her unkindness in
this story! (he crumples the sheets of paper hes been writing on) If I cant keep my own unhappy
memories from intruding Ill never write a jolly Christmas story. (with a sigh) Ah, Maria. What
a time for me to think of you.
(Charles drops his head in his hands in despair.
As a magical theme plays, Rachael slowly
turns to face Charles.)
Young Woman
Did she hurt you very badly?
Charles
Oh, I was absolutely (looks up) Wha-?! (startled, he scatters his papers all over the floor)
Where did you come from?
Young Woman
I simply -- how shall I say it? --appeared.
Charles
Well, you can simply -- how shall I say it? --disappear. (calling) Mrs. Furnival!
Young Woman
Really, Charles. How rude! You brought me here.
Charles
I did no such thing.
Young Woman
In your story. I was Rachael. I dont know who I am now.
Charles
You do look remarkably like No. Its impossible. What do you take me for a lunatic?
(Mrs. Furnival enters, out of breath.)
Mrs. Furnival
Mr. Dickens. Is everything all right?
Charles
It may be and then again it may not. Do you see er, anything unusual over there?
Mrs. Furnival
(looking around) No, I (looking towards the Young Woman) Oh, yes. Oh, dear.
DICKENS PAGE 27

Charles
You see it, too! Thank goodness!
Mrs. Furnival
(crosses to des, walking right past Young Woman, and begins picking up papers)
This is quite a mess youve made here. However did you do it?
Young Woman
You see? You shouldnt have called her.
Charles
(to the Young Woman) I shall do as I like!
Mrs. Furnival
Well! You can clean up after yourself, then. (starts to go in a huff)
Charles
No, wait. I only meant That is (shes looking at him like hes crazy) I appreciate your help.
Mrs. Furnival
(all is forgiven) Oh, well (goes back to gathering papers)
Young Woman
I can help you, too, Charles.
Charles
(to the Young Woman) You can help by leaving this instant!
Mrs. Furnival
Mr. Dickens!
Charles
(to Mrs. Furnival) I wasnt talking to you.
Mrs. Furnival
(sarcastic) Who were you talking to? A ghost?
Young Woman
Is that what you think I am, Charles?
Charles
(to the Young Woman) I think youre a horrifying apparition!
Mrs. Furnival
Mr. Dickens!
DICKENS PAGE 28

Charles
Not you, dear lady!
Young Woman
Me, Charles?
Charles
Yes, you!
Mrs. Furnival
What?!
Charles
Not you!
Young Woman
ME?
Charles
YES, YOU!
Mrs. Furnival
Who?
Charles
You! (to Mrs. Furnival) No! (to the Young Woman) Yes! (to himself) No.
Mrs. Furnival
(collecting herself) Mr. Dickens. I begged you to get rest. Now before you lose whats left of
your mind, please take my advice. Good night. (She exits.)

Young Woman
Now do you believe me?
Charles
Shes right. Ive lost my mind.
Young Woman
Charles
Charles
No, dont speak to me. Ive got to clear my head -- got to make you go away.

DICKENS PAGE 29

(Charles closes his eyes tightly for a


second. She moves to the other side of
him. He opens his eyes and thinks shes
gone, then turns to see her and screams.)
Young Woman
Why wont you let me help you, Charles?
Charles
A character -- a figment of my imagination? Help? Ha!
Young Woman
Give me a chance. At the rate youre going, what have you got to lose?
Charles
Very well -- tell me whats on your imaginary mind.
Young Woman
Your problem is with these unhappy memories that keep finding their way into your story -- your
poverty as a child, that girl who rejected you. Am I right?
Charles
Precisely.
Young Woman
So -- just let them in! Youve done that in the past. Your novels are chock full of unhappy
childhood memories.
Charles
There. Thats why Im the author and you are only a character. This is a Christmas story. Thats a
time when people want to forget pain and suffering and hear about happy things. You see? These
unhappy memories simply will not do.
Young Woman
But Charles
Charles
Please, my dear figment. Ive got a story to write. Kindly allow me to concentrate.
Young Woman
By all means.
(She exits.)

DICKENS PAGE 30

Charles
Misguided as you are, you may have given me an idea. Perhaps I could start with poverty and
pain, and then bring in one of those silly Christmas miracles everybodys so fond of, and make
everything turn out happily. That just might sell.
(He picks up the crumpled sheets from
the Christmas Ball story, smooths them out.)
Ill take this pathetic little Tim fellow, and give him an equally pathetic family. Then Ill make the
ending happy if it kills me.
WRITING SEQUENCE III (THE HAPPIEST FAMILY IN LONDON)
Charles
WE TAKE THE BOY
AND LEAVE THE BALL. WHERE HOME? NO. (Spoken) Wandering aimlessly? Yes!
WHILE BACK AT HOME
HIS WRETCHED MOTHER SITS
AND -- WHAT? -- AND KNITS.
NO, SEWS A DRESS.
Mother
WE ARE POOR, SO POOR,
AS POOR AS POOR CAN BE,
AND FATHER HAS TO WORK SO HARD.
Charles
Right!
WE NEED A FATHER, TOO.
WHAT SHALL HE DO
TO WORK SO HARD?
(spoken) No! Better yet, lets have him lose his job. Perfect.
Father
MR. SKIMWORTHYS VERY WORTHY NEPHEW NEEDS A JOB,
SO ON CHRISTMAS EVE THEY HAD TO LET ME GO.
AND BECAUSE WE OWE THE GROCER
AND THE LANDLORD
AND THE DOCTOR
Mother
AND IM STARVING.

DICKENS PAGE 31

Father
AND YOURE STARING.
AND THE TAXMAN
AND THE MILKMAN
AND THE BUTCHER
AND THE BAKER
AND ITS EASIER
TO NAME THE INDIVIDULAS
WE HAPPEN NOT TO OWE.
I MUST ALSO SEW
AND SEW
AND SEW
AND SEW
Both
WE ARE POOR
SO POOR
AS POOR AS POOR CAN BE
AND POORER BY THE WRETCHED
HOUR ARE WE.
Father
At least we have our Tim to gladden our hearts. Where is he, Mother?
Mother
Your son went to a fancy Christmas ball. That Rachael Pembroke will be there. I think he may
ask her to marry him.
Father
OH, JOYOUS, JOYOUS WORLD THAT TREATS OUR TIM SO FAIR.
IT MAKES OUR MISERABLE POVERTY EASIER TO BEAR.
(Tim enters.)
Tim
OH, WOE IS ME. OH, WOE IS ME. OH, WOE. OH WOE, IS ME.
Tim
RACHAEL, MY RACHAEL,
SHE SAID I HAVE NO PROSPECTS.
SHE SAID ID WORK IN A FACTORY TIL I DIE.
RACHAEL, SWEET RACHAEL
SHE SAID THAT I WAS WORTHLESS

DICKENS PAGE 32

Charles
(cutting Tim off) There. That ought to get the point across.
Tim
AND THEN SHE BID THIS WORTHLESS BOY
GOOD-BYE.
All
WE ARE POOR,
SO POOR,
AS POOR AS POOR CAN
Charles
But -- just when things are at their bleakest, fortune smiles:
(A knock.)
Father
Whos there?
Man
Alfred Hargreaves, from the legal firm of Hargreaves, Churchill and Hall. Ive come to see a Mr.
Augustus Trotwood. Would you be he?
Father
I be he. I mean, I am. He.
Hargreaves
I REPRESENT THE ESTATE OF THE LATE LORD SMEARDON. (sniffles)
PARDON ME.
WHO UPON HIS DEATH LEFT A MOST ASTOUNDING WILL. (sniffles)
PARDON ME.
BUT A NEPHEW AND THE NEWPHEWS MOTHER
SAID THEY FOUND ANOTHER.
INTRIGUE! SCANDAL! MYSTERY! HIGH, HIGH DRAMA.
AND OF COURSE A LOT OF LEGAL MUMBO-JUMBO.
BLAH-BA-DA, BLAH-BA-DA PROBATE
BLAH-BA-DA, BLAH-BA-DA MAGISTRATE
BLAH-BA-DA, BLAH-BA-DA BARRISTER.
BLAH-BA-DA, BLAH-BA-DA JURY, SIR.
BLAH-BA-DA -- WILL! BLAH-BA-DA -- COURT.
BLAH-BA-DA, BLAH-BA-DA,
BLAH-BA-DA -- QUITE A FORTUNE!
(One last great sneeze. His wig blows
off. Gathering himself and recovering
his decorum, he unrolls a very long scroll.)
DICKENS PAGE 33

Hargreaves
Finally, there appeared a seventh will. Ill be brief:
I, THE LATE LORD SMEARDON,
HAVING LIVED MY LIFE IN SCANDAL,
IN DEATH MUST SOMEHOW TRY TO MAKE AMENDS.
MY SON -- MY ONLY SON
IS ONE AUGUSTUS TROTWOOD
AND TO HIM MY FORTUNE PASSES
AND MY TITLE DESCENDS.
Congratulations, sir. Youre rich!
Rachael
TIM, TIM, I HEARD THE NEWS!
IM OH, SO ECSTATIC TIS ME YOU CHOOSE.
THAT BOY HAS SUCH PROSPECTS, IVE ALWAYS SAID,
AND PAPA WILL SING ON THE DAY WERE WED.
All
NOW WERE THE HAPPIEST FAMILY IN LONDON
HAPPIEST FAMILY IN LONDON.
YOU CAN SEARCH EVRY CORNER OF THE CITY,
PRETTY SOON YOULL AGREE:
NOWHERE CAN YOU FIND ANOTHER HAPPIER THAN WE.
HAPPY, OH, HAPPY AS CAN BE.
WERE THE HAPPIEST FAMILY IN LONDON.
HAPPIEST FAMILY IN LONDON.
IF YOU DROP MENTION OF THE NAME OF TROTWOOD,
WHAT YOU ANYONE SAY?
Charles
NOWHERE WILL YOU FIND A FAMILY HAPPIER THAN THEY.
All
HAPPY, AND HAPPY WE SHALL STAY.
HAT A VERY, VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS DAY!
Charles
There! Thats it. Finished! Theres a truly joyous Christmas story. People will love it.
(As the story characters begin to exit,
the Young Woman steps forward.)
Young Woman
Stop right there! (the others freeze) Charles, this story is not finished.
DICKENS PAGE 34

Charles
It most certainly is. You are merely unhappy because your part is small.
Young Woman
I am unhappy because the story is rubbish!
Charles
Oh, wonderful. Not only have I created a character, Ive given birth to a critic as well.
Young Woman
Honestly, Charles! That story makes it appear that money is the answer to everything.
Charles
Im afraid, my dear figment, that you fail to understand how the real world works.
(He begins to neatly stack and fold the sheets
that make up the story he just wrote.)
This is a jolly, happy Christmas story. People will love it. The story is finished and so are you!
(she exits.)
There. What a relief. Finished at last. I thought for a moment that I really was losing my mind.
Imagine, arguing with a figment of my own imagination. Rubbish, indeed. Its a very good story.
I know it is. (beat) So. Finished. (beat) Perhaps I should read that last part over, just to check for
errors. Yes, a quick look over it, thats all.
(As Charles quickly runs his finger down the page,
speed-reading, the lights come up on the characters
from the story, who run through the lines, songs
and actions at breakneck speed.)
SEQUENCE III (SPEED READ REPRISE)
Charles
(reads a section, then) That part may be laying it on a bit thick, but after all, its a Christmas
story.
(Charles skips ahead in the story. Again, the
characters appear and race through another
section.)
Charles
(interrupting -- the characters freeze) Yes, yes, yes.

DICKENS PAGE 35

(The music for the Young Womans entrance plays.


All the characters and Charles turn in anticipation. She
does not appear. Alarmed, Charles begins searching
furiously through his story. The characters turn
as a group and stalk Charles.)
All
HA!
HAPPIEST FAMILY IN LONDON.
HAPPIEST FAMILY IN LONDON.
HAVE A MERRY
MERRY
MERRY
CHRISTMAS -(Charles crumples and tears the story. The
characters collapse and exit. Charles, dejected,
sinks to the floor, his story in shreds around him.)
Charles
(finally) Rubbish.
(The Young Woman reappears.)
Young Woman
(gently) Im afraid I was a bit unkind.
Charles
(quietly) No, you were right. In fact I think you were generous. Now I really am finished. I just
cant write a Christmas story.
Young Woman
Of course you can.
Charles
I dont know how! I never had a Christmas, never got a gift. Ive had to work for everything Ive
ever gotten.
Young Woman
Everything?
Charles
What do you mean?
Young Woman
As a product of your imagination, Ive been inside your mind quite recently
DICKENS PAGE 36

Charles
And?
(In the same manner as Charles has written
the previous scenes, the Young Woman summons
his memories.)
WRITING SEQUENCE IV (MUSES INCANTATION)
Young Woman
COME BACK
TO YOUR BEGINNINGS.
THERE WERE GIFTS.
I KNOW YOU KNOW.
WHAT YOU ARE
IS WHERE YOU CAME FROM.
LET WHERE YOU CAME FROM
COME BACK
INVENT A BOY.
NO.
RECALL A BOY.
WHOSE NAME IS TIM. NO. JACK. JOE? CHARLES.
AND GIVE THE BOY
A JOB HE MORE THAN HATES.
HE WAITS AND WAITS
AND WAITS AND WAITS
YOU HAD A MISERABLE CHILDHOOD, CHARLES.
AND YOU WANTED SO TO GO TO SCHOOL.
Charles
BUT THERE WASNT MUCH HOPE OF THAT,
AS MY FATHER NEVER SAVED ONE POUND.
Young Woman
BUT YOUR FATHER DID RECEIVE SOME MONEY
FROM A RELATIVE WHO UP AND DIED.
Charles
AND HE USED IT ALL TO PAY HIS BILLS,
WHICH ALLOWED HIM TO COME HOME FROM JAIL.
Young Woman
AND YOU SECRETLY HOPED
DICKENS PAGE 37

Young Charles
AND I SECRETLY HOPE
Young Woman
IF HE FOUND A JOB
Charles and Young Charles
IF HE FIND A JOB,
I CAN START MY LIFE ANEW!
(Young Charles and John Dickens, played
by the actors who were Tim and his father
in the previous scene, are in the same living
room setting. It is the Dickens household
twenty years earlier. Older Charles and
Young Woman watch them.)
John
You see, Charles, I just couldnt let him speak to me that way.
Older Charles
Thats right! He got into an argument with my employer right off, and I was sacked.
Young Charles
Oh, Father, dont apologize. I dont mind losing that job a whit. In fact, Im glad. I was beginning
to fear Id spend the rest of my life working there.
John
No, lad. Im home now, and things are going to be different.
(Charles mother comes bustling
in. Shes carrying packages.)
Elizabeth
Calm yourselves, all of you. You mustve been worried sick. Well have a roof over our heads
this Christmas, thanks to me. Every little thing is back to normal, and arent we glad for that?
Young Charles
Back to normal?
Elizabeth
On the way home. I stopped into the butchers, and when I saw how much he expected us to pay
for a goose, I told him
Young Charles
Mother, wait. What do you mean, every little thing is back to normal?
DICKENS PAGE 38

Elizabeth
Why, I spoke with your employer, Mr. Guildfeather, as I promised.
Young Charles
You did?
Elizabeth
Oh, yes. We had a little talk. He understands that your father has had a difficult time of late, so for
his Christmas present to our family, as he put it, hes giving you back your job. Just report at your
usual time in the morning.
Older and Young Charles
(aghast) No!
Elizabeth
No?
Young Charles
I wont. I shant go back there.
Elizabeth
Indeed you shall. Your job is a godsend to this family, and you will take it back.
Older Charles
I absolutely refuse.
Young Charles
You cant force me.
Elizabeth
No, Charles, I cant. If you wish to turn your back on us now, you may be so. Lord knows when
your father will be able to obtain a suitable position. In the meantime, if we must return to debtors
prison, then I suppose that is what we must do. The decision is yours.
(Older Charles crosses over to Young
Charles as if to comfort him.)
Young Charles
(pained by the thought) No, I dont want that.
(At the moment Older Charles touches
Younger Charles shoulder, Young Charles
vanishes and the role is played by Older
Charles for the rest of the scene.)
DICKENS PAGE 39

Elizabeth
Of course not. Now, we can just forget all about this little problem, cant we?
Older Charles
(defeated) I suppose so.
Elizabeth
Good. (going back to her packages) What was I going to tell you? Oh, yes, the baker. While I
was in his shop, I saw
John
(quietly) I dont think thats right.
Elizabeth
What? Did you say something?
John
No, its just not right.
Elizabeth
What are you talking about?
John
No son of mine is going to spend the rest of his life in a factory. I think the boy should go to
school.
Elizabeth
And just who do you think should pay his tuition?
John
Dont complicate matters, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth
Im simply pointing out that our bills must be paid.
John
And Im simply saying
MY SON CHARLES (REPRISE)
MY SON CHARLES
SHALL ENROLL AT THE FINEST SCHOOL.
GRAB YOUR BOOKS, SON, SHARPEN UP A QUILL
Elizabeth
Who shall pay for it, John -- who?
DICKENS PAGE 40

John
I SHALL TURN.
THAT SHALL BE
BLAST IT ALLME.
Elizabeth
You?
John
Yes, me. Forget looking for a suitable position. Ill take anything.
HE HAS SUCH POTENTIAL TO FULFILL:
OUR SON CHARLES;
BRIGHT YOUNG CHARLES;
MY SON CHARLES
WILL.
Elizabeth
John!
John
Elizabeth, its decided!
(Defeated, Mrs. Dickens takes her package
and leaves. Charles continues to stare at his
father. Neither knows what to say.)
Charles
I I
John
Yes, well, Id better go help your mother with her packages.
(John exits.)
Charles
That was a wonderful thing he did. It was It was
Young Woman
A gift?
Charles
I suppose it was.
Young Woman
Charles? (his body begins to quiver) Are you crying?
DICKENS PAGE 41

Charles
(Bursts out laughing) Perhaps I should be, but Im not. Im laughing.
Young Woman
At what?
Charles
At me. At what a fool Ive been. What a ninny, a nitwit, a a
Young Woman
Nincompoop?
Charles
I beg your pardon?
Young Woman
Just trying to help.
Charles
So often I could swear my father was only put on this earth to make my life miserable. That school
he sent me to was barely worth a straw. But now that I look back, it seems that everything Ive
become was made possible by that one sacrifice he made. Whyever did he do it?
Young Woman
Perhaps because he loved you.
Charles
Me? But I was such a a
Young Woman
Nincompoop?
Charles
Precisely. Do you know I never even thanked him? Ive been too angry at him to remember the
good things he did. Do you suppose thats what Christmas really is? A time to remember those
good things?
Young Woman
What do you think, Charles?
Charles
I think Ive been wrong about Christmas all along.
Young Woman
Do you think you can write that Christmas story now?
NO TIME FOR CHRISTMAS --REPRISE
DICKENS PAGE 42

Charles
YES, YES, YES!
I CAN WRITE THE STORY,
BUT WAIT -- THERE ARE THINGS TO TEND TO FIRST.
CERTAIN OTHER THINGS I HAVE TO DO OR ELSE ILL BURST!
An I may burst anyway from happiness! (calling) Mrs. Furnival! Could you come here?
Young Woman
ARE THEY TRULY, TRULY, TRULY MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE STORY?
Charles
YES, THEY TRULY, TRULY, TRULY, TRULY ARE
Young Woman
GOOD! WHOD HAVE THOUGHT THAT YOUD HAVE COME SO FAR?
YOU HAD NO TIME FOR CHRISTMAS.
Mrs. Furnival
(entering) Mr. Dickens?
Charles
(to the Young Woman)
QUITE SO.
I HAVE A LOT TO THANK YOU FOR.
Mrs. Furnival
WHO ME?
Charles
WHATS THAT?
Young Woman
I KNOW.
Mrs. Furnival
Why should you thank me, Mr. Dickens?
Charles
Why, for being such an understanding landlady. And for always being willing to go out of your
way for me.
Mrs. Furnival
Oh, I, er Im glad to, Mr. Dickens. No need to thank me for that.

DICKENS PAGE 43

Charles
But I want to say thank you. To everybody. Especially at Christmas. In fact, Ill be having a sort
of Christmas party here tonight. Of course
I HAVE NO TIME TO PREPARE FOR PARTIES
BUT IVE MAKE A LIST -Mrs. Furnival
WHAT CHANGED YOUR MOOD, SIR?
THE FOOD, SIR!
HOW THRILLING!
Charles
NOW THEN, YOU KNOW HOW I HATE TO ASK, BUT -Mrs. Furnival
HOW COULD I RESIST?
Charles
GOOD.
CAN THESE BE ORDERED STRAIGHTAWAY?
Mrs. Furnival
SIR, THATS AS GOOD AS DONE.
Charles
AND THEN INVITE MY PUBLISHER.
Mrs. Furnival
GAD, HES A LOT OF FUN.
Charles
AND THEN MY FATHER,
YOUR HUSBAND, TOO.
I MIGHT HAVE SWORN THERE
WAS MORE TO DO
AND OH, OF COURSE, THE ORPHAN HOUSE.
Mrs. Furnival
THE ONE ON BARROW LANE?
Charles
What an intelligent landlady!
THE CHILDREN THERE,
PLEASE BRING THEM HERE.
INSANE?
DICKENS PAGE 44

Mrs. Furnival
All of them, sir?
Charles
HAH-HAH! INSANE!
And their Mistress, too!
I HAD NO TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!
Mrs. Furnival
MR. DICKENS!
Charles
MRS. FURNIVAL, BUT NOW
ILL CELEBRATE AND CELEBRATE
AS WELL AS I KNOW HOW.
IM HAPPY AS A BABY,
IM SO GIDDY AND IM SO
Mrs. Furnival
SIR, ID LOVE TO STAY AND HEAR,
BUT I SHOULD GO.
Charles
OH?
Mrs. Furnival
ONE MAKES THE TIME FOR THINGS THAT MATTER,
MR. DICKENS.
WHICH LEAVES NO TIME FOR IDLE CHATTER,
MR. DICKENS,
WHICH MEANS THAT SINCE I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO, SIR,
FOR YOU, SIR,
TOODLE-OO, SIR,
AND CHEERIO.
(She exits.)
Charles
(turning back to the Young Woman) As I was saying I have to thank you for
(She is gone.)
Charles
Where did you ? (beat) Oh, of course. She was never there to begin with, was she? Just a
figment of my imagination. Well, anyhow Thank you.
DICKENS PAGE 45

(There is a knock at
the door. John peeks in.)
John
You wanted to see me, Charles?
Charles
Ah, yes. Come in.
(John enters like a schoolboy whos
been sent to see the principal.)
John
I I thought youd be writing.
Charles
Oh, I was, I was. (picks up a large stack of Johns bills and adopts a stern tone) But I got to
thinking about something. About a debt. A grievous debt, and whats more, one thats been owed
for a long, long time.
John
If its about that bill at the Bull and Peacock
Charles
Bull and Peacock!? So theres a bill at the Bull and Peacock, is there? Thats not the debt Im
referring to, but Im very glad to know of it.
John
Blast!
Charles
Now, listen to me. Ive been telling you for years that you must learn to live within your means.
Ive told you how I feel about being asked to pay your bills. Now, I can see theres nothing left for
me to do except to say flat out (crosses directly to John) to say flat out I love you, Father.
John
What?
Charles
I said I love you. I shouldve told you years ago. Thats the debt I was talking about. And the one
I mean to repay. (Charles tosses the bills into the air) A very merry Christmas to you, Father.
(They embrace amidst bills fluttering to the ground) Would you do me the honor of staying to
celebrate with me this evening?
John
Oh, well. It would be a pleasure. Thank you.
DICKENS PAGE 46

Charles
No. Thank you.
(Mr. Chapman appears
in the doorway.)
Chapman
Dickens!
John
Chapman.
Chapman
Good evening, John. Its Charles Ive come to see. I assume you have that story for me.
Charles
Merry Christmas, Mr. Chapman. Im afraid I havent got the story. In fact, its not even really
begun. And if I never write it, well, there are more important things in life than writing.
Chapman
Have you taken leave of your senses?
Charles
Quite the contrary. Ive come to my senses.
(Mrs. Furnival enters, pushing a cart
laden with food, followed by the
smallest orphan.)
Mrs. Furnival
Your very special guests are downstairs washing up. This one tagged along with me. Heres the
food you ordered, Mr. Dickens. (confidentially) And heres the bill.
Charles
Ah, yes. Mr. Chapman, stay and dine with us.
Chapman
Ive already had my dinner, thank you very much, and Im certainly not in the mood for a party.
Charles
What a shame. Especially since youre paying for it.
Chapman
What?
Charles
Dont worry. Its only a loan until I finish my story and collect my fee.
DICKENS PAGE 47

Chapman
Whatever would possess me to pay for one morsel of this?
Charles
(brings orphan up to Mr. Chapman) I want you to meet a friend of mine. And there are many
more like him wholl be here, soon. Cant you spare a little, for their sakes?
Chapman
Blast it, Charles! Oh, my I didnt mean to (the orphan is staring at him, expectantly) Well,
since youve had it all delivered (gives Charles money, which he gives to Mrs. Furnival)
Mrs. Furnival
Oh, Mr. Dickens. The Mistress from the Orphan House is here.
(The Mistress enters. She is the Young
Woman who was with the orphans earlier;
she is also the figment of Charless imagination.)
Young Woman
Merry Christmas, Mr. Dickens. The children are still washing up, but I couldnt wait to come
thank you.
Charles
(dumbstruck) You!
Young Woman
Yes. Is anything the matter?
Charles
No, everything is quite well, indeed. (takes a glass from the table) May I propose a toast?
THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
HERES TO THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS!
THE ONE THAT HAS ESCAPED ME ALL THESE YEARS.
SILLY ME,
I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT CHRISTMAS MEANT FORGETTING -THE PAIN,
THE INJUSTICE,
THE TEARS.
BUT HERES TO THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS!
THE ONE THAT ALWAYS FELL ON MY DEAF EARS:
A GIFT GIVEN IN LOVE
GIVES US THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.
EACH DECEMBER
WE REMEMBER
DICKENS PAGE 48

Charles (Contd)
CHRISTMAS CHEERS.
And to you, Miss. You are the true spirit of Christmas. God bless you.
Young Woman
(a little embarrassed) God bless us all.
Smallest Orphan
God bless us, every one.
(All except Charles freeze.)
Charles
(repeating to himself) God bless us, every one?
All
Hear, hear.
Charles
(to the others) Please, everyone, would you excuse me for a moment? Ive just had idea Id like
to jot er carry on!
(He ashes to his writing table, where
he begins writing furiously.)
All Except Charles
HERES TO THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS!
THE ONE THATS BEEN THERE RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES.
Charles
SILLY ME,
I NEVER KNEW THAT CHRISTMAS MEANT REMEMBERING -BUT NOW,
WHAT A HAPPY SURPRISE.
All
INDEED IT IS AND SO LETS
RISE TO THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
THE ONE THAT IM DISCOVERING AT LAST.
A GIFT GIVEN IN LOVE
GIVES US THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS:
CHRISTMAS FUTURE,
CHRISTMAS PRESENT,
CHRISTMAS PAST.
DICKENS PAGE 49

Charles
(writing) Bah! said Scrooge, Bah, humbug. (stops writing) Just might have something, here.
(Charles throws himself back
into his writing.)
All
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON.
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON.
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON TOWN.

DICKENS PAGE 50